Tuesday, April 23, 2013

AN EVENT  centre for Cork that would attract major music acts and international conferences is a step closer after the city council  announced it was  seeking firm proposals from developers for the  venue.
Councillors were told last night that such a facility could bring an extra 8m to 12m into the economy each year as well as creating 160 new jobs.
The city council is willing to invest substantial funding into such a venue as it is felt a large event  centre is a major piece of infrastructure that Cork currently lacks.
Concerts, conferences and  political gatherings regularly bypass Cork for other cities such as Dublin, Belfast and even towns like Killarney.
However, City Manager Tim Lucey said they would not be revealing  what amount of funding they would be willing to invest.
Councillors gave a broad welcome to the plan last night,  with some pointing out that Cork had been waiting for at least a decade for such a development.
They are calling for competitive proposals for the development of a multifunctional event  centre in Cork that they will assess and decide if they will invest in.
Mr Lucey said the matter was  now for the private sector to decide if they wanted  to deliver the project for Cork.
Planning permission has either been granted or awaiting a final decision on three separate event centre proposals for the city.
One is at the old Ford distribution site near Páirc Uí Chaoimh by Howard Holdings; the second is on the former Beamish Brewery site by Heineken and Bam; and the third is on Albert Quay by developer Owen O’Callaghan.
Fine Gael councillor Joe Kavanagh said an event  centre would breathe new life into the city centre and surroundings region.
Deputy Lord MayorCllr Emmet O’Halloran said that 40% of the patrons attending the Bord Gáis Energy theatre in Dublin travel   from Munster.
“These are people that should be attending events in Cork. Why should we have to go to Dublin to attend a concert?” he said.
Fianna Fáil’s Cllr Seán Martin said traders in the city would be delighted if there were 4,500 conference delegates milling around Cork over a two-day period.
Cork Chamber welcomed the council’s decision, urging them to proceed with the process quickly.
“It is our belief that the current absence of such a centre is a major infrastructural deficit which means Cork city loses out on a substantial pool of income as its capacity to host business, sports, trade and entertainment events is severely constrained,” chief executive Conor Healy said.

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