The Tánaiste hopes to see progress before Easter on the deadlock over the complex funding for the stalled Cork event centre project.
Simon Coveney said following a series of meetings between the project partners in recent weeks, he has set a new “political timeline” for key decisions by Easter. But he urged caution and said people will need to show a little more patience.
“We have had a number of meetings in the last few weeks and a series of conversations with both BAM and Live Nation and we have had meetings in both Dublin and Cork,” he said.
“Everybody is trying to find a way to move this project forward and to be able to make decisions this side of Easter. That’s the new political timeline for me at this stage.
“I’m reasonably confident that we will be able to make progress on that. But I’ve set deadlines in the past and we’ve had new obstacles that have delayed things so I’m cautious.”
Talks have been ongoing since January in a bid to resolve a standoff over the classification of €9m of the €30m increased state-aid funding package for the venue as a repayable loan.
Mr Coveney said he understands the “frustration and disillusionment” of observers, and added: “What I’ve said before, and I’ll say it again, is we are as determined now to make this project happen as we always have been and I’m extremely confident that we can still make it happen.
“But it’s the timelines that have frustrated everybody and so until people hear me announcing that this is actually moving ahead now and hear the developers saying the same then I understand that people will continue to be cynical.
“But I’m confident, as is the team working on this, that we can make this happen but people will have to show a little more patience for the next few weeks.”
Developers BAM have until July to deal with planners’ request for further information in relation to the planning application for the enlarged venue.