Plans for the €70m upgrade of Páirc Uí Chaoimh in Cork have been given the green light by the council.
The GAA said the city council’s decision to grant permission was “tremendous news for sport, for the city and the county of Cork”.
It hopes to begin work on the two-year project by September. The revamp of the stadium will include:
- Redevelopment and roofing of both stands;
- Development of new dressing rooms, restaurants, meeting and conference rooms, media facilities, a museum, as well as new and additional turnstiles;
- A centre of excellence which will include a full-size all-weather pitch, new gymnasium, dressing rooms, video, performance assessment and rehab facilities;
- Capacity up to 45,000.
Cork County Board chairman Bob Ryan said the development will create 400 direct and indirect construction jobs and give a €22m boost to the local economy.
“It will address a deficit in Cork’s business and tourism infrastructure and create an ongoing economic dividend for Cork,” said Mr Ryan.
“It should be remembered that a major fixture or public event at Páirc Uí Chaoimh can generate an estimated €10m for the local economy, with the main beneficiaries being the hospitality sector. This activity converts into real jobs for the people of Cork.”
Plans for the revamp, which is an integral part of the redevelopment of Cork’s Marina Park, have caused concern among locals who fear traffic management, litter, and public order control issues could arise.
Mr Ryan said: “It is our belief that the resolution of any outstanding local issues is best served and in some respects, can only be served, in the context of a redeveloped stadium and the new management structures to be put in place.”
One of those who had been opposed to the development when it was first mooted was councillor and businessman Des Cahill.
However, he said a new design and the efforts by the county board to begin to address issues such as traffic management had brought residents “80% of the way”.
Nonetheless, Mr Cahill said he would be surprised if the decision was not appealed to An Bord Pleanála.
The Save the Marina Park group, which had lodged an objection to the plans, said: “We’re awaiting details on the conditions attached to the grant of planning but if they don’t address the issues raised by the city council and the objectors, it is inevitable that we will, as a group and as individuals, have to appeal to ABP.”
Green Party Cork City Council candidate Dan Boyle tweeted last night: “This decision is less about a stadium and more about stymying the potential of a public park. Bord Pleanála next.”
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