Residents to fight GAA plan

“We haven’t gone away and will fight this all the way through planning.”

That was the message last night from residents living near Cork’s Páirc Uí Chaoimh who are opposed to the €67m stadium regeneration.

And they have questioned claims by the GAA that the revamped stadium — with a capacity of 45,000 — will generate €12m for the local economy on big match days.

“That is an outlandish figure,” said Save Marina Park spokesman Denis O’Regan. “That would mean every man, woman and child attending a game would have to spend over €266 each.

“We haven’t gone away and our stance is still as it was. We are preparing detailed planning objections, and have engineers helping us. Everybody wants to see jobs, but these are short- term jobs.”

His comments come after Cork County Board officials and engineers unveiled details of the scheme.

County board delegates were told that a planning application is expected to be lodged with Cork City Council in October and the project will create up to 400 construction jobs.

Pending the outcome of the planning process, the GAA hopes to break ground late next year, with completion due in 2015. The GAA also plans to build a “centre of excellence” on a parcel of land next door which was once part of a larger site earmarked for development as a 100-acre public park.

Donal Healy, CEO of Cork Business Association, welcomed the plan. “This year, the city enjoyed a financial spin-off from the parking initiative between the Cork County Board and Q Parks on match days, where parking in its car parks was available for €5,” he said.

“This was especially attractive to families coming in early to enjoy the city’s hospitality and retail offering. A €10m to €12m spend around match days will help maintain and secure employment.”

Joe O’Brien, director of the Construction Industry Federation, said the project will be a massive boost for the sector.

“This will enable those presently in construction employment to remain in the industry and hopefully reemploy some of those who were forced to leave the industry due to the downturn,” he said.

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