Talks in bid to resolve standoff over Páirc Uí Chaoimh lighting costs

Talks are underway in a bid to resolve the standoff over the GAA’s financial contribution towards public lighting upgrades around the revamped Páirc Uí Chaoimh in Cork.

Face-to-face talks took place last week between representatives of the Cork County Board and City Hall.

A spokesman for City Hall confirmed that talks will continue.

“This is the start of a process that will hopefully conclude with an agreement,” he said.

It is understood that the ‘special contribution’ issue was one of several planning-related matters linked to the new stadium which were on the agenda.

Traffic management and cleansing arrangements outside the stadium were discussed, as was the value to the city of works conducted as part of the stadium regeneration which will facilitate the council’s delivery of Marina Park on an adjoining site.

The Irish Examiner revealed in January that the GAA in Cork was in dispute with the city council over how much it should pay for public lighting upgrades around the stadium following its €86m regeneration, €30m of which was funded by the Government.

Because the GAA is exempt from development contributions, given its voluntary status, the council had sought a ‘special contribution’ of up to €700,000 towards the upgrades to lighting on Monahan Rd, Centre Park Rd, and the Old Railway Line.

However, it emerged during a Bord Pleanála oral hearing into the stadium project that the GAA had offered €60,000, arguing that it was “unreasonable” to require it to bear the full costs of extensive works outside the site.

But City Hall argued that the new stadium would attract significant extra numbers into the area and said €60,000 was “inadequate to ensure public lighting to the standard required to protect public safety”.

The issue had not been resolved when the stadium hosted its first game under floodlights in January, after which there were complaints about poor public lighting on the streets nearby.

During a recent council meeting, Cllr Terry Shannon asked officials for their view on the stadium’s mobility and traffic plans, and asked them to consider a 2km parking exclusion zone around the stadium as part of new protocols to alleviate the “major traffic and parking problems that are now part and parcel of events/matches taking place in the stadium”.

The city’s head of planning, Pat Ledwidge, and the city’s head of roads, Gerry O’Beirne, said there are “no major concerns with respect to compliance with planning conditions in relation to infrastructure and environmental impact study” issues linked to the stadium.


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