VFI members in Cork are calling for action to be taken on the development of the long awaited Cork Events Centre.
The Cork Vintners’ have joined forces with The Cork Business Association (CBA), Irish Hotels Federation Cork (IHF) & Restaurant Association Cork (RAI) to call for call for ‘certainty, accountability and meaningful communication’ on the development of Cork Events Centre.
“Pressure must be put on all stakeholders to deliver this vital piece of infrastructure for the region”.
The business organisations said that it is imperative for future planning and sustainability in Cork that the development of the 6,000 capacity multi-purpose venue begins immediately.
Development of the Centre, which saw the sod turned on its site three years ago, has been thwarted by delays which have seen costs soar from €53m to almost €80m, and sanctioned a State investment increase from €20m to €30m. Further delays have been caused due to legal issues and the €9m repayable loan element of the State funding.
They are appealing to An Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney TD and to local government for clarity on all phases of construction on the site.
The Cork VFI & groups said: “The process has dragged out and at this stage the Government needs to deliver on this project. “A dedicated events centre, that would bring Cork’s conferencing and events capacity from 1,000 to 6,000 seats, would be a game changer for the wider Cork region in terms of social and economic benefits”.
The MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, events) market in Cork is currently worth €13.2m, with a further €14m in the pipeline for next year, according to the latest figures from Cork Convention Bureau. ”It will not only make Cork a destination city nationally and internationally, but it will help retain concert and event business in Cork, giving our community the opportunity to spend their hard-earned money with local businesses.”
The business groups said that “The city is currently on hold as we wait for answers. There will be a detrimental impact on several industries and the local economy if there is further stalling of the process.”Hoteliers, publicans, restaurateurs and businesses are investing heavily in the region because of the potential that the city holds. But return on that investment very much depends on the events centre coming to fruition.”
In conclusion, the group said, “As Ireland’s Second City, it should be a priority that we have these facilities. We need a date put in writing for when development will start, accountability of the process and clear communication around timelines. We need to know that this is happening. Certainty is better than uncertainty and an outcome needs to be communicated either way.”
The Cork Business Association (CBA), Irish Hotels Federation Cork (IHF), Vintners Federation Cork (VFI) and Restaurant Association Cork (RAI) represents more than 500 businesses in Cork City.