Dolphin Rugby Club has clashed with the IRFU over plans for a large, new, indoor facility at the city’s main rugby stadium.
Dolphin RFC has applied to An Bord Pleanála for leave to appeal the recent decision of Cork City Council to grant planning permission to the Munster branch of rugby’s governing body for a new indoor training facility, a new ticket booth for match days, and parking facilities at Musgrave Park in Ballyphehane.
The proposed development, which extends to 2,831 sq m, will contain a synthetic, all-weather playing pitch, gymnasium, dressing rooms, treatment rooms, and kitchen.
Musgrave Park is home to both Dolphin and Sunday’s Well and acts as “the secondary home” for Munster Rugby after Thomond Park. The venue also regularly hosts schools matches and underage and amateur internationals.
The IRFU described it as “the location of some of the most memorable sporting moments in the city’s history”. Dolphin is seeking leave to appeal the decision, as the club is not entitled to automatically appeal the council’s decision to An Bord Pleanála, because it failed to make a submission to the local authority about the proposed development.
Under planning legislation, the owners of land that adjoins the site of a planning application can grant leave to appeal “in extenuating circumstances”.
No other objections from third parties were made against the project.
The basis for Dolphin’s objections is not yet clear, but it is believed the club may be concerned about the loss of an existing training area. The IRFU says it sought planning permission for the new building, as it wants to maintain the stadium’s position as a centre for high-level competition and to improve player welfare facilities.
It said the new indoor facility would be available to all affiliated clubs of the Munster Branch, like the adjacent, new, all-weather outdoor pitch.
The IRFU said the proposed development would “assist grassroots levels of the game in the province and provide for an important community asset”.
A spokesperson for the club [Dolphin] declined to comment on the issue