The Mayor of County Cork has offered to act as an honest broker to ensure the GAA holds the Liam Miller memorial fundraiser in Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
Cllr Patrick Gerard Murphy said he would also request his counterpart in the city, Lord Mayor Cllr Michael Finn, to join in any likely talks to persuade the GAA to open up its 45,000-capacity stadium for the match.
He made the offer after county councillors unanimously called on the GAA to facilitate the charity soccer match, in order to help raise more funding, and also satisfying more sports fans.
Currently, the scheduled venue Turner’s Cross has a 7,000 capacity.
Standing orders were suspended at the council meeting yesterday after Cllr Bernard Moynihan called on local authority members to back the public’s call for the match to be transferred to the larger venue.
He urged the organisers and the GAA to be “given breathing space” to ensure this “very important issue is resolved”.
Cllr Moynihan added having the match staged in the bigger venue “would be a fantastic showcase for Cork”.
Cllr Gillian Coughlan, who seconded the motion, maintained it was “in the public interest” to have the match staged at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
“It’s a capacity issue,” she said, “The community wants to support the family.
“I’m encouraged there are reports of moves from Croke Park,” said Cllr Joe Carroll. “I believe 99% of people hope this issue will be resolved and it will be played in Páirc Uí Chaoimh to honour a great sportsman from Cork.”
Cllr Timmy Collins said if the GAA offered Páirc Uí Chaoimh for the match, they would get huge support.
Cllr Danny Collins maintained the GAA have to look at the bigger picture and “have to get off its high horse and let this game go ahead”.
At that stage, Cllr Michael Hegarty proposed the Mayor of the County would make his offices available “to intervene and get this over the line”.
Cllr Seamus McGrath said the match venue was generating huge discussion around the county.
Although conceding the GAA had its rules, he said common sense should prevail as there were exceptional circumstances.
Meanwhile, Cllr Alan Coleman said Liam Miller was a GAA man and a soccer man.
“With his untimely and sad demise, there was an outpouring of grief from the sporting community in Cork.”
Cllr Des O’Grady, who taught the late Mr Miller at Coachford Community College, said the issue of a venue was a no-brainer.
“I know the Miller family and knew Liam well. His family wouldn’t be taking any pleasure in what’s going on at the moment, I can assure you.
“€30m of public money was put into that stadium and there was a stipulation it would be open for a number of events, including charity events,” Cllr O’Grady added.
Cllr Derry Canty said space should be given to the negotiators and pointed out the GAA players’ body, the GPA, supported Páirc Uí Chaoimh being used for the fundraiser.
“I know the GAA have their own rules, but they should bend them a small bit,” he said.
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