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Design & Development

Louth GAA stadium project stalls over funding concerns

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Emergency talks have taken place at Dublin’s Croke Park after the Gaelic Athletic Association’s (GAA) Central Council instructed Louth GAA to halt plans to start construction work on a new stadium.

The directive was issued due to concerns surrounding the required funding for the 14,000-capacity stadium outside Dundalk. Construction was due to commence on Monday of this week.

According to multiple reports, Louth GAA chair Peter Fitzpatrick has led a club delegation for talks with the GAA’s Central Council and National Infrastructure Committee at Croke Park. Fitzpatrick, who has been a key driver behind the project, initially tendered his resignation following the latest development, but will now stay in his current position for the time being at least, according to the Irish Independent.

Concerns have been raised surrounding a potential budget shortfall of about €7m (£6m/$7.8m) in the development of the facility, with the GAA having written to the Louth Management Committee in June to warn against signing letters of intent with contractors until confirmation that the necessary funds were in place, the newspaper added.

The initial budget for the building work is reported to have increased to around €25m since final approval was granted for a €19m project in January.

When planning permission was granted back in September 2020, the development was projected to cost €12m, according to RTE. Plans were first proposed in December 2018 and Louth GAA welcomed the planning permission following “many false dawns”.

In October, Louth GAA was granted approval to seek €14.8m of Immigrant Investor Programme funding through Ireland’s Department of Justice to support the project.

The county announced last month that Ganson LTD had been appointed as the project’s main contractor, with July 17 set as the start date.

Louth GAA currently plays its home matches at the 3,500-seat Drogheda Park.