Royal scandal over city hall knobs

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Cork City Council has been humiliated after it emerged that it spent almost 6,000 euros on polishing door handles at city hall to prepare for a one-day stop by British royals Charles and his wife, Camilla.

Global news organisation CNN reported on Cork’s absurd expenditures in preparations for the stopover, noting that “the city may have gone overboard” in its preparations for the visit.

Charles and Camilla visited Cork in June, and were greeted in the city hall.

It has emerged that a total of 203,761 euros was spent refurbishing the hall before the occasion. Of that, over 11,000 euros was spent on deep-cleaning offices and more than 6,000 euros on replacing a light in the foyer.

The Sinn Fein councillor who revealed the amounts spent on Twitter described the expenditure “crazy,” asking why the money wasn’t put toward tackling homelessness in the city.

“I have no issue with them visiting but I cannot stand over this type of expenditure when we have the high levels of homelessness, hospital waiting lists (and) much more,” Councillor Thomas Gould tweeted, along with a picture of the list of expenses.

“This is crazy when you think of the homeless, people on trolleys and the disabled,” he added.

“I think there was a panic about it. It wasn’t a state visit. We spent [euro]13,000 on hiring barriers and there was no one there. The whole South Mall was cordoned off.

“This figure doesn’t include what the Garda spent, what the Navy spent down in Haulbowline and what Cork County Council spent. What they spent in Kerry. We probably spent millions on this visit at a time when people are homeless.”

Catriona Twomey, an advocate for the homeless, asked: “Why did they polish them? It’s not as if Charles and Camilla were going around trying all the doors. They have people to open doors for them. I’m sure this money would have been better spent turning around a house for a family.”

The council attempted to defend the costs, claimed that the polishing was a “project” which had been “brought forward” due to the royal visit.

In statement emailed to CNN they said it included “specialist reconditioning, polishing and lacquering of over 260 individual brass items by a local specialist firm.”

It added that the money covered “reconditioning, polishing and lacquering door handles, escutcheons, push plates, finger plates, brass fittings and kick plates.”

Cork, which is sometimes known as the “rebel city” due to its history of opposing British rule, also spent around 4,000 euros on “sanding and varnishing,” 4,200 euros on power-washing railings, and almost 14,000 euros on banners and signs for its English Market, a tourist attraction that the royal couple visited.

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