GAA club probed over illegal car park

A GAA club is at the centre of a planning probe over the alleged unauthorised use of its grounds as a car park for office workers in Cork’s tech hub.
GAA club probed over illegal car park

However, St Michael’s Gaelic Football club said the parking is occurring as one of “a number of privileges” allowed to one of its sponsors. The Mahon club believes it isn’t a breach of its sporting licence granted by Cork City Council.

The matter has been referred to the council’s legal department.

Mahon is home to one of Cork’s largest retail parks, and it has one of the highest concentrations of US multinationals outside Dublin, with almost 2,500 people working in the sprawling City Gate office campus.

An unauthorised car park, being operated by JCD on city council-owned land nearby, was shut down recently.

However, the Irish Examiner has now learned the council’s property section has asked the GAA club, based on Ringmahon Road, to confirm or deny the use of its car park by office workers.

The club holds the sports grounds under a sporting lease from the council, for a 99-year term, which started on October 10, 2005, at an annual rent of €5.

In correspondence to the club, council officials said under one of the conditions of the lease, the club is obliged to “use the said premises for the purpose of recreation and sport, and not to use or permit the same to be used for any other purpose whatsoever”.

The council said another condition states the tenant is “not to assign, sub-demise, or part with the possession of the said premises or any part thereof without first obtaining the consent in writing of the lessor”.

“It has been brought to the attention of the council that the club car park within the demised area of the lease is being used as a car park to service the parking needs of users of offices in the wider Mahon area, most notably City Gate 1 and 2 during business hours on a weekly basis,” the property section wrote.

“If correct, this is of significant concern to the council as the use represents a breach of the lease.”

The council said according to its records, no written consent has been sought or given for such a sub-let or use, and no planning permission has been granted which permits such activity.

The club was asked to confirm or deny that such a use is ongoing and to satisfy the council that the terms of the lease held by the club are not being breached.

In its reply, the club said the parking is occurring as one of “a number of privileges” allowed to one of its sponsors under agreed sponsorship terms, and it doesn’t believe that represents a breach of the lease. Sponsored by JCD, the club said its car park has been used by the city council’s mobile library, as well as for funeral parking, by the local community and other sporting organisations when needed.

“Accordingly, it is clear that the parking of cars per se is contemplated and permitted on the area designated for that use within the leased grounds,” it said.

“Our agreement allows our sponsor to nominate the individuals who may enjoy that privilege — we cannot say if these people are users of offices within the Mahon area or not,” it said.

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