Plans have been approved to develop a new 12,000-capacity Gaelic sports stadium in Dundalk, while the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) and Cork County Board have moved to ease a dispute over the cost of the redevelopment of Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
Louth GAA currently plays its games at the Louth county grounds in Drogheda. A proposal to expand the 3,500-capacity venue fell through earlier this year, but Louth GAA has now sealed a deal with local councillors to acquire a 12.14 acre plot of land at a cost of between €6m (£5.4m/$6.8m).
The Dundalk Democrat newspaper said the GAA is understood to be very positive about the proposed venue and is willing to provide financial backing to the Louth County Board to enable the project to run smoothly.
Local councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú said: “When fully developed this county ground will see an investment in the region of €8m in Dundalk and I hope it will lead to further development in that area. This means that Louth county teams will no longer have to cede home advantage due to lack of grounds.”
Meanwhile, the GAA and Cork County Board have charged two officials with the task of examining the redevelopment cost for Páirc Uí Chaoimh stadium. It was announced last week that the firm that oversees the running of Dublin’s Croke Park has taken on management of commercial operations at Cork’s Páirc Uí Chaoimh under a three-year agreement.
Cork County Board owns Páirc Uí Chaoimh, which has a capacity of 45,000, and Croke Park stadium director Peter McKenna told the Irish Examiner newspaper last week that its redevelopment would cost €110m, an increase of €24m on previously reported figures.
The Irish Times newspaper said Cork officials were angered by McKenna’s claim, adding their confidence that closer inspection of the figures would reveal that the county board estimate of €86m was correct.
Following a meeting of the Páirc Uí Chaoimh stadium committee chaired by GAA president John Horan, the GAA has confirmed that two members of the committee, businessman Michael O’Flynn, and accountant Tom Gray, have been appointed to investigate the cost issue.
Cork GAA chairperson Tracey Kennedy said in a statement: “It is fantastic for us to be able to call on the experience and expertise of Croke Park to work with us in the operation of our stadium, and I know this will be a huge positive for Páirc Uí Chaoimh.”