Carriganore project running €3m over budget

A major financial crisis has engulfed the National Hurling and Camogie development centre (NHCDC) in Waterford.

Phase II of the multi-million euro Carriganore project, which commenced in January 2012, has not yet been completed, despite promises that it would be finished within a year.

This newspaper has learned that spiralling costs associated with phase II, which was originally priced at €9.7m, could lead to the project running a whopping €3m over budget.

A number of senior inter-county hurling and camogie teams are no longer using the range of services available at the NHCDC as a result.

As things stand, money needed to fully complete work at the facility is not available.

And sources have indicated that funding for elite training services at the NHCDC, including strength and conditioning, nutrition, psychology and fitness testing, has been diverted to other centres, namely IT Carlow and Athlone IT.

The Irish Examiner has seen documentation revealing that funds were originally promised to fund and complete the project — but later withdrawn.

In a letter dated September 12, 2012, recently-resigned Waterford IT chairman Donie Ormonde and current president Ruaidhrí Neavyn confirmed that funds to the value of €9.029m would be forthcoming, and ring-fenced, for the purpose of the Carriganore Phase II development. Ormonde stepped down as WIT chairman earlier this week in the latest development in the ongoing saga surrounding the proposed merger between Waterford IT and IT Carlow.

However, further correspondence, dated October 26, 2012, indicated that the funding originally promised just weeks earlier was being withdrawn.

Stakeholders were then left disappointed in November 2012 upon learning that the Institute was not in a position to provide any additional funding to complete the project, despite numerous warnings that it would run grossly over budget if not completed on time.

And it is now estimated that it could cost up to €13m to complete the work.

Original indications were that phase II of the WIT sports campus project would be completed by December 2012.

To date, is it believed that approximately €7m has been spent on the project, which came with the original and competitive €9.7m price tag.

Rising costs could have a devastating knock-on effect as WIT strives to preserve key sporting activities, including the training of GAA teams, at the impressive complex.

In a separate development, the Quigley report which was set up in 2012 reviewed the relationship between Waterford IT and Waterford IT campus services.

In this report, former WIT chairman Redmond O’Donoghue said that it was his understanding that phase II of the sports complex could have been finalised in time, and on or under budget, if the process that had worked so well for 23 years had not been interrupted.

Instead, and in conjunction with a consolidation process within WIT, senior management figures took control of all issues relating to the Carriganore project from June 2012.

New directors were appointed to the board of WIT campus services, which were brought under the control of the bigger Waterford IT umbrella.

Efforts to contact Elaine Sheridan, chairperson of WIT campus services who also acts as financial controller at WIT, for comment proved unsuccessful yesterday. The WIT sports campus hosted the glamour Fitzgibbon Cup hurling finals weekend in 2011.


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