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Bohemians, Dublin City Council deny Dalymount Park reports

Bohemian FC and Dublin City Council (DCC) have rejected reports that the transformation project for the Irish Premier Division football club’s Dalymount Park will be scaled back amid concerns over rising costs.

In October 2018, the Council signed off on plans to redevelop Dalymount Park into an all-seater stadium, but at a smaller capacity than initially proposed – 6,000 rather than 8,000 to 10,000. Bohemians sold the venue to DCC in November 2015, with the idea of the team sharing with rival Shelbourne once the redevelopment was complete.

However, the Irish Independent said there remains doubts within the League of Ireland about whether DCC will be able to complete the project, which was originally projected to cost €35m (£29.8m/$36.3m).

DCC last week pledged to support Shelbourne and St Patrick’s Athletic FC in their plans to redevelop Tolka Park and Richmond Park, respectively. Earlier this year, Shelbourne elected to remain at Tolka Park rather than groundshare with Bohemians at Dalymount, with the Council currently in talks with the former club about acquiring the Tolka site to retain its status as a football stadium.

Concerns over mounting costs led to reports that DCC would look to significantly scale back the Dalymount project, opting against the development of an entirely new stadium. However, both Bohemians and the Council countered these reports yesterday (Thursday).

Bohemians said: “There has been no change in the preferred and planned redevelopment of the stadium into a 6,000-seater facility with ancillary community facilities. Following funding from both the Large Scale Sports Infrastructure Fund (LSSIF) and DCC, the design team, which was appointed in 2021, led by Idom with support by Gilroy and McMahon, has been undertaking works on multiple fronts in preparation for redevelopment.

“Indeed, there is currently a contractor on site this week conducting complex ground investigations. In 2021, thanks to DCC, the physical infrastructure of the stadium changed for the first time in decades with the removal of the roof of Des Kelly Stand, which facilitated the stand’s continued usage.

“The tender for the demolition of the Connaught Street Stand, which has been out of use for over a decade, is currently live, and that major structure is due for removal before the end of this year. All this necessary, costly and detailed work, both physical and otherwise, will feed into the preliminary design, which is due imminently.

“This will then feed into the final design to progress to Part 8 Planning subject to cost. The board of Bohemian FC has always been aware, as with any project funded by public monies, that should costs escalate to an unsustainable level that there would need to be alternative options on the historic site.

“These options could potentially involve redesign and would utilise all studies and works already undertaken and stay within the funding mechanism of LSSIF and DCC as combined sources. Such a redesign could also deliver a higher capacity facility without the need for a long period out of Dalymount Park where we have played continuously since 1901.”

DCC said that underground investigations are to be conducted on site over the next week. Once this information is available the quantity surveyor will be able to provide accurate costings for the proposed design by the end of June.

DCC continued: “Once this report is complete the City Council will be in a position to complete their due diligence on the costing and a decision will be made whether to proceed to detailed design and planning with the current design or alternatively a value engineering exercise will be completed which could potentially lead to some redesign.

“All stakeholders have always been aware, and particularly in light of ongoing inflationary pressures, that should costs escalate to an unsustainable level there would need to be alternative options on the historic site.”

It added: “In respect of Tolka Park, negotiations are ongoing with Shelbourne FC acquiring the site from Dublin City Council on a cost recovery basis.”

Image: Bohemian FC