The funding for the newly redeveloped Páirc Uí Chaoimh will not be affected by Ireland’s failed bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup, writes John Fogarty.
Speaking in Australia, GAA director general Páraic Duffy said that while he was disappointed with today’s news that France had won the right to host the tournament the Cork stadium’s funding was not a matter of concern.
“Páirc Uí Chaoimh is not affected,” he said.
“The Government funding was a key element there. The GAA grounds that will suffer were those in the rugby bid that were clearly in need of upgrading. That work will still have to be done but it will take a lot longer than would have been case if the World Cup bid had been successful.
“Páirc Uí Chaoimh is the only one that directly benefited from the bid. I’m not sure what level of funding we would have got if the World Cup bid hadn’t been on the horizon. We got €30m. Whether it would have been less, I just don’t know.”
A member of the Ireland’s RWC 2023 bid’s oversight committee, Duffy remarked: “It’s very disappointing. Given the evaluation report a few weeks ago, it was always going to be difficult to get enough support.
“The oversight committee worked very hard over the last few weeks to reverse the position but they haven’t succeeded and I feel sorry for them.
“They had worked very hard over a number of years - I know at first hand the quality of the bid they had put together and the work that was put in so I share their disappointment.”
The GAA stood to make significant financial gains from a successful bid.
“It’s disappointing for the GAA on the basis that we were with it from the very beginning - both Central Council and Congress were strong supporters of the bid,” added Duffy.
“We would have gained financially. There was an agreement in place in relation to the renting of our grounds - that would have brought in a substantial amount.
“All the grounds would have benefited from that income and secondly it would have meant upgrading some of the grounds. There were up to eight GAA grounds that would have benefited.
“There would be a further opportunity to turn the temporary upgrading into something permanent. That’s all passed now so we still have the problem of how to upgrade the grounds that clearly need it.
“As and from today we would have been in the planning mode to upgrade the grounds - it would have been a very exciting project. Unfortunately, it’s not to be at the moment.”