According to a local Chinese language newspaper, the Ireland Pavilion is to be demolished by end of April and then moved to Keqiao (http://www.chinashaoxing.com/english/), a non-descript city in Shaoxing County, Zhejiang Province, which is not far from Hangzhou.
The cost of demolition and reconstruction is estimated at about RMB 10 million (or Euro 1.1 million at today’s rate), and compares to the reported Euro 9 million cost of building and running the Ireland Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo 2010.
Chen Qimiao, respected local bigshot, a.k.a. Secretary-General, Shaoxing County Textile Services Designers Association is behind the move, which will see the Ireland Pavilion reconstructed as a fashion culture landmark in Keqiao, highlighting the innovative side of Shaoxing‘s traditional textile industry.
The outcome, according to the article, was negotiated directly with the Irish Government.
And yet there are others who claim to have inside knowledge the Ireland Pavilion was gifted by the Department of Taoiseach (the one from Offaly) to Tianjin city for an ‘Ireland village project‘. “…Don’t believe the Keqiao scam” says ZWQ (Patrick) of the Ireland China Business Network (ICBN) … “the Irish government owes money to the builder of the pavilion in China and has agreed to use the building material (after it’s demolished) to offset against the outstanding balance. The (Irish) government has never authorised anybody other than Tianjin city government to rebuild the pavilion. The officials from Tianjin came to Ireland to sign the memorandum. The builder might have sold the material to this guy in Keqiao“.
An Irish solution to an Irish problem? No matter who and where, the curious case of the Ireland Pavilion can certainly be explained by someone in the Department of Taoiseach.