Stadium debt will not impact on day-to-day running of Cork GAA, Kennedy insists

Cork GAA chair Tracey Kennedy has claimed that the mountainous spending overrun on Pairc Ui Chaoimh will have no impact on the day-to-day running of Cork GAA.

Ms Kennedy told tonight’s annual convention at the stadium that the audited accounts of the Board detailed a spend of €86.5m on the redevelopment of the Pairc.

Despite revealing comments from Croke Park stadium director Peter McKenna in the Irish Examiner this week, the Cork GAA chair insisted: “There has been no takeover of the stadium.”

Ms Kennedy added: “I want to categorically state again, and this has been said before, that there are absolutely no plans to levy clubs in any way in relation to the stadium project. The stadium has not had, and will not have any impact on inter-county teams, apart from providing them with an all-weather venue on which to train.”

The chair told a packed convention that was the whole point of creating a company to run the stadium - to separate the finances of the stadium from the finances of Cork County Board.

“The stadium will have no negative impact on the day to day running of this Board,” the chair maintained.

Opening the convention, Ms Kennedy stated that the stadium costs still reside entirely in the county board accounts, at least until the imminent transfer of the stadium to Pairc Ui Chaoimh companies.

“Those companies, and through them the stadium, are in the full ownership of Cork County Board. There has been no takeover of the stadium.

“As clearly outlined in the secretary’s report, we have chosen to enter into a commercial agreement with Croke Park for a minimum of three years, which I consider to be a hugely positive step and development for this stadium. We are all part of this one great association and why would we not harness the expertise of our Croke Park colleagues, at least for the early years of the stadium – which is now as well as a sporting venue, a vast commercial entity and with a potential to generate significant income for this Board.

“Personally I hope to see co-operation between the two stadia and others in a planned and strategic manner for the entire GAA family.”

The Cork GAA chair outlined the governance infrastructure of the stadium for delegates.

“It was now run by its own board of directors, all approved by Cork County Board, featuring the county chairman, incoming secretary Kevin O’Donovan, and treasurer Diarmuid Gowan, along with three former officers Pearse Murphy, Ger Lane, and as of tonight, Frank Murphy, who has also been appointed secretary to the company.

“This structure has been approved by this board and we are very pleased with the calibre of the directors, all of whom bring a wealth of commercial knowledge and experience to the table which I am certain sill yield incredibly positive results.”

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