A 19-day delay in the handover of the revamped Páirc Uí Chaoimh GAA stadium in Cork could cost the local economy up to €25m in lost game-day revenue,.
The Cork County Board has confirmed the stadium, which has undergone a €60m regeneration since it closed in 2014, will not be ready to host this year’s Munster football and hurling finals next month.
It was hoped the stadium, which will have increased capacity for 45,000 spectators, would be handed back to the GAA next Sunday.
It was also hoped that the stadium would be ready in time to host the Munster football final clash between Cork and Kerry on July 2 and the Munster hurling final a week later, when Clare will face the winners of Sunday’s game between Cork and Waterford.
However, the County Board was told yesterday that there are some commissioning works to be completed and that the work will not be done until July 7, ruling the stadium out as a venue for both Munster finals. The football final has been switched to Killarney.
In funding application documents last year, the GAA told the Government that each big-match day in the new stadium could be worth up to €12.5m to the local economy.
The stadium is expected to be ready to host its first game in mid to late July.
Cork County Board chairman Ger Lane said they were disappointed with the delay and the loss of the two big games, but officials wanted to ensure everything is “pristine” before the stadium hosts its first major games.
Cork Chamber chief executive Conor Healy said it was extremely disappointing the city would not see an immediate economic benefit from the opening of the revamped stadium.
“But we need to keep in mind that this is a very important piece of infrastructural investment in the city, and in the region, and while it’s disappointing in the short-term, we must keep the longer-term benefits in perspective,” he said.
“This will be a mayor sports, conference centre, and concert venue in the years ahead and, at this late stage in the stadium project, it is important that the stadium is 100% finished, to ensure that the experience of patrons attending is reflective of the investment that has gone in to it.”