Legal issues have stalled the transfer of the historic Elizabeth Fort to the people of Cork two years after it was “handed back” by the State and earmarked for a tourism project.
The Office of Public Works confirmed that it and the office of the Chief State Solicitor are working to resolve the issues. The news emerged after local independent councillor Mick Finn raised concerns about the stalled €4m tourism plan for the fort off Barrack’s Street.
Mr Finn said he was disappointed to learn that a decision to prioritise funding in the Shandon area appeared to have bumped Elizabeth Fort down the order of priorities.
“This is very disappointing, considering the work that has gone into the fort to date and the fact that the present tourism-offering is attracting so many people every week of the year,” he said.
He said Shandon Street and the Butter Exchange are important tourism assets for Cork which must be pursued, but not at the expense of the fort project which has been trumpeted as a game-changer for the city, if resourced properly.
Good morning Cork. Come and visit Elizabeth Fort, open 'till 5pm today pic.twitter.com/KWnzJLznre
— Elizabeth Fort Cork (@ElizabethFort_) October 1, 2016
Mr Finn said he was also amazed that the fort has still not be transferred fully to the city despite former OPW Minister Brian Hayes handing the keys back to the city at a formal ceremony in November 2014. The OPW confirmed that the fort was transferred to the city by means of a licence.
“Historic properties have complex legal titles and Elizabeth Fort is no exception,” a spokesperson said.
“The matter of the registration of the property has raised a number of questions in the Property Registration Authority. It is anticipated that the title issues will be sorted by quarter one 2017. In the interim Cork City Council are in full possession of the property.”
But Mr Finn said this makes a mockery of the key handover ceremony.
“Fáilte Ireland needs to realise that Cork is losing out in the marketing of the Ancient East and Wild Atlantic Way and requires funding to open up underutilised tourism sites.”