Minister dismisses hopes of Volvo Ocean Race bailoutOctober 12, 2012 - 7:30am
By Dermot Keys
Efforts to get a Government ‘bailout’ to pay the estimated debts of €400,000 amassed by the Volvo Ocean Race finale organisers have been dealt a blow after the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar refused to provide any additional funding.
It is understood that up to 60 suppliers have still not been paid for their services by Let’s Do It Global, who will meet with key stakeholders on Monday to discuss the financial shortfall. There have also been talks to try and secure some Government funding to cover the deficit.
However, Minister Varadkar closed a door on the possibility of assistance from his Department when speaking on Galway Bay FM on Wednesday.
Minister Varadkar said out that funding had already been allocated through Fáilte Ireland, but as a sponsor rather than an underwriter. He added that his own department is operating at a deficit and said that it was not in a financial position to cover Let’s Do It Global’s debts.
A spokesperson for the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport confirmed to the Galway City Tribune that there are no plans to issue additional funding.
“The bid for Galway to act as host port for the Volvo Ocean Race in 2009 and 2012 was made by Let’s Do It Global, and was supported by very significant State funding through Fáilte Ireland – €8 million in the case of 2009 and €4 million for the 2012 finale,” the spokesperson said.
“This financial support was the single biggest allocation to any tourism event in 2012 – larger than the combined State support for all other tourism events taking place in Ireland this year, such as the Tall Ships and Navy vs Notre Dame, combined.”
It has been estimated that Let’s Do It Global is owed in the region of €170,000 from debtors but, even if it collects all the outstanding money, the organisation will still remain unable to meet its creditors’ demands.
When contacted by the Galway City Tribune, John Killeen, Chairperson of Let’s Do It Global, said that he was unaware of the Minister’s statement and so was unable to comment. However, he said that the matter would be discussed at Monday’s meeting.
Galway City Councillor Michael Crowe has appealed to Minister Varadkar to reconsider his position and to find a way to address the situation on a one-off basis that would not create a precedent.
Read more in today’s Galway City Tribune