Row over GAA’s bill for lighting around Páirc Uí Chaoimh

A row has flared over the GAA’s bill for public lighting upgrades around Cork’s revamped Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

There were calls last night for the issue to be resolved before the stadium hosts Ed Sheeran’s European tour opener on May 4.

“They need to get the finger out and get on with it, especially with the Ed Sheeran concerts coming down the tracks,” said local Fianna Fáil councillor Terry Shannon.

He was speaking after complaints in the wake of the stadium’s first game under floodlights at the weekend.

Just over 16,000 fans attended a double-header between Cork and Tipperary, and Cork and Kilkenny on Saturday.

Storm damage forced the closure of two of the stadium’s usual access routes, the Marina and Centre Park Road, resulting in most fans having to leave the ground in darkness via Monahan Road.

Seanad leader Jerry Buttimer was among the fans who said the public lighting along this road was poor and should be addressed.

However, it has emerged that the Cork County Board and City Hall are in dispute over how much the GAA should pay for public lighting upgrades following the stadium upgrade.

In its grant of planning for the €86m revamp, Cork City Council sought a special contribution of up to €700,000 for the works.

A Bord Pleanála hearing was told the County Board had offered just €60,000, arguing that it should not have to pay for works on roads up to a mile away.

GAA chiefs, who hired 13 mobile floodlights for use outside the stadium on Saturday, said they await a response from City Hall to the offer.

The lighting issue was one of several issues raised after Saturday’s game.

Thanks to a new shuttle bus, improved policing and stewarding, traffic, and parking problems have been largely addressed in Ballintemple, but pushed out to Ballinlough.

However, residents said City Hall needs to get tougher on indiscriminate parking.

Tracey Kennedy, chairperson of the Cork County Board, said all the issues raised will be considered as part of a review of the event.

Stadium manager, Bob Ryan, said every major event provides learnings, which are being taken on board.

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