Páirc Uí Chaoimh games faced injunction over traffic chaos fears

By Eoin English

City Hall officials considered injuncting the Cork County GAA Board in a standoff over its mobility plan just hours before the revamped Páirc Uí Chaoimh hosted its first major games.

News of the warning shot fired across the bows of the GAA emerged yesterday as residents praised a major traffic plan which they said should act as a blueprint for future stadium events.

City Hall said that they gave consideration on Thursday to injuncting the games because officials were not satisfied with elements of the mobility plan submitted by GAA chiefs on Wednesday.

The County Board supplied the relevant information on Friday and the All-Ireland hurling quarter-finals proceeded on Saturday and Sunday.

A spokesman for the board said the additional detail sought was relatively minor in nature.

“Separately, a traffic plan was executed fully, by gardaí, and it worked extremely well,” he said.

Paddy Mulley, a spokesman for the Ballintemple Area Residents Association, said “not a single issue of concern” was raised by the residents of more than 12 housing estates who liaised via WhatsApp over the weekend.

Most of the crowd dispersed within 45 minutes of the final whistle on both days, compared to 90 minutes after previous games, he said.

Mr Mulley said: “Without exception, people were thrilled.

“We suffered during previous games when it was chaos more than anything else. But the County Board listened, and they and the gardaí threw resources and manpower at it, and it showed. It augurs very well for future events. If this is the standard, we have no fears around future events.”

The County Board’s spokesman, meanwhile, said every aspect of the stadium’s first weekend of operation was now subject to comprehensive review.

“The intention is to build on what was a very, very good start and to consolidate the positive responses we got from people,” he said.

Up to 100 gardaí were on duty in and around the stadium during the weekend, backed up by armed members of the Regional Support Unit, the Garda dog unit, detective branch, and the air unit.

Supt John Quilter said while they were pleased with the operation, any lessons that arise from the inter-agency debrief will be taken on board.

“We must give credit to the fans too, who took heed of our messages before the game to park in the city and walk to the stadium. The message we want to get out is that the closer you park to the stadium, the longer you will be delayed.”

Fianna Fáil councillor Terry Shannon accepted the traffic plan worked well but he said the mobility plan must include a park-and-ride service direct to the stadium for future big events.

The Black Ash park and ride facility was closed on Sunday. A service to the stadium requires a special licence from the National Transport Authority.

A spokesman for Bus Éireann said the operation of the park-and-ride on Sundays or for special events is “a Cork City Council decision”.

This article first appeared in today's [url=http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/pairc-ui-chaoimh-games-faced-injunction-over-traffic-chaos-fears-455628.html]Irish Examiner.


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