Ed Sheeran concert risk over lighting row at Páirc Uí Chaoimh

GAA chiefs in Cork say they are confident that a standoff with City Hall over payments for public lighting upgrades around the redeveloped Páirc Uí Chaoimh will be resolved before the stadium hosts two Ed Sheeran concerts in May.

Ed Sheeran concert risk over lighting row at Páirc Uí Chaoimh

It follows concerns about poor public lighting on the key routes used by fans to leave the stadium after its first game under floodlights on Saturday.

Fianna Fáil councillor Terry Shannon accused the Cork County Board of dragging its feet on paying for lighting upgrades.

“They haven’t paid up. It’s as simple as that, and it was one of the conditions of their planning,” he said.

“They need to get the finger out and get on with it, especially with the Ed Sheeran concerts coming down the tracks.”

However, stadium manager Bob Ryan said they have made an offer and await a response from City Hall.

The Cork County Board got €30m in government funding for the €86m stadium revamp but the GAA is exempt from development contributions, given its voluntary status.

When planning was granted, Cork City Council sought a special contribution of up to €700,000 to pay for upgrades to public lighting on Monahan Rd, Centre Park Rd, and the Old Railway Line.

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

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

The board inspector recommended a special contribution be agreed between both sides, and that failing agreement, the issue could be referred back to the board for determination.

Mr Ryan said that they are waiting a response from City Hall to their offer.

“We hired 13 mobile lighting towers for the various approach roads at the weekend,” he said. “We did the best we could. I would hope that we can resolve the issue in the coming weeks.”

However, a senior council spokesman said the difference between the two figures is “quite substantial”.

He said that the issue will be addressed soon, in combination with a range of other issues linked to the operation of the revamped stadium.

Ed Sheeran is due to open his European tour in Cork on May 4.

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