GAA hails Clonliffe College deal as 'the key financial achievement for the year, if not the decade'

The GAA are expected to make a tidy profit from their €95 million deal to purchase the 31-acre Clonliffe College site in Drumcondra.

GAA Director of Finance Ger Mulryan, left, and Stadium & Commercial Director Peter McKenna. “The Archbishop was very anxious that he would sell to the GAA,” said McKenna. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
GAA Director of Finance Ger Mulryan, left, and Stadium & Commercial Director Peter McKenna. “The Archbishop was very anxious that he would sell to the GAA,” said McKenna. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

It was reported last July that the organisation had struck an agreement with the Dublin Archdiocese to buy the land adjacent to Croke Park, which is used as a car park for Championship matches at the stadium.

A total of €22.47m was paid to the Saint Laurence O’Toole Diocesan Trust towards the end of last year, the first of four tranches that in total will amount to approximately €95.17m.

In December, 19 acres was sold onto international property group Hines, who as part of the agreement with the GAA have included 10% affordable housing in their development on top of the required 10% social housing. It is understood the GAA will more than recover the entire €95.17m for the sale to Hines.

Hailed in the GAA’s accounts as the largest development deal in the GAA’s history and financially “the key achievement for the year, if not the decade”, on the remaining 12.8 acres the Association intends building another hotel while constructing two full-sized 4G pitches as well as a dressing room and retaining “The Red House” for potential office usage.

“The Archbishop (Diarmuid Martin) was very anxious that he would sell to the GAA and he really wanted to deliver a social and affordable housing complement to that part of the city,” explained GAA stadium and commercial director Peter McKenna.

He also wanted to have GAA pitches there as part of the overall vision for it. So we're the ideal partner to get involved there.

In his annual report, GAA director general Tom Ryan lauded the initiative. “The scheme will see the local area of Drumcondra and Ballybough significantly transformed and revitalised and will build a new and vibrant community on our doorstep.

“The financial results of various transactions are not fully reflected in our accounts as the deal concluded after the year end. However, the sale proceeds will be such as to fully fund the acquisition and the pitch development, and to offer potential for a future income stream to the Association to further promote our aims.

“Patrons can be reassured also that parking on match days will continue to be available.”

McAleer and Rushe, who constructed The Croke Park Hotel, are expected to oversee the development of the new hotel pending planning permission.

Meanwhile, the GAA’s accounts revealed €1,761,840 was paid in wages to the GAA’s 14 senior management team members, an average of €125,846 per person. “All employee remuneration of Cumann Lúthchleas Gael is subject to full oversight by An Coiste Bainistíochta and specifically its Remuneration Committee,” the accounts read.

“The CLG Remuneration Committee has a delegated responsibility for the implementation of the Associations remuneration policy, including the determination of the remuneration arrangements for the Senior Executives of the Association. An average salary increase of 2.4% was awarded in 2019.”

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