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Cork County Board appear to weather storm after speculation of strained relations over finances

Chairperson Tracey Kennedy, however, urged delegates not to fool themselves into thinking Cork’s accounts would ‘paint a pretty picture’.

Cork County Board chairperson Tracey Kennedy.
Cork County Board chairperson Tracey Kennedy.
Image: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

CORK COUNTY BOARD appear to have weathered any storm relating to finances after Tuesday night’s first board meeting of the year passed without major incident.

Prior to the meeting at Páirc Uí Chaoimh, there had been speculation that relations between the board’s executive and the audit and risk sub-committee regarding the stadium and the board’s deficit were at such a low ebb that the sub-committee was considering resignation.

However, board chairperson Tracey Kennedy informed delegates that there had been positive discourse since the turn of the year and the executive and the audit and risk committee – consisting of chair Gerard Lyons, Ciarán Murphy, Róisín O’Sullivan and Michael Harte – were now facing forward with a united front.

“We had a very constructive meeting with them on 6 January,” she said, “it wasn’t possible to hold it earlier due to Christmas, and it was really useful.

“There are some excellent people on the committee, there was a very good discussion around concerns, mainly relating to the reporting of stadium accounts and finances.

“I can’t over-stress the value of their advice and input. As an executive we made it clear that we hoped they would continue – we put them there to question us. They agreed to reflect on the situation and come back to us and we agreed to put together a timeline for reporting the finances.

“On 3 February, there is an audit planning meeting with EY, on 10 February there is a stadium board meeting and the accounts for 2019 will be presented. The audit is scheduled to be completed by 21 February and it’s expected that the accounts will be signed off and presented to the board by mid-to-late March. The consolidated accounts will then be presented.

I want to reiterate, there’s no point anyone fooling themselves that these accounts will paint a pretty picture as the stadium had a bad year in 2019, it was closed for a large part of it. Certainly, there will be losses but we’ll have definite figures.

“We conveyed that to the audit and risk committee, who came back to us and thanked us for meeting them. They emphasised that their wish is to help the board in dealing with complex issues. They would prefer a shorter timeline but they do accept that this is the best that can be achieved for 2019. They hope, going forward, that consolidated accounts will be available at year-end with the board’s accounts. They assured us that they are anxious to help and support us.”

When asked by Fermoy delegate Diarmuid Daly if she could provide information regarding the debt, Kennedy said she would love to but was current unable to and didn’t want to give a figure that wasn’t accurate. “As soon as we have it, we will give it,” she said. “I’m hopeful there will be a resolution in the next four to six months but I can’t be certain.”

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Denis Hurley

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