The cost of redeveloping Páirc Ui Chaoimh has soared towards €110m, with Croke Park now set to spend at least a decade in charge of the new stadium in Cork, thehas learned.
The startling revelation from a senior GAA executive comes at the end of a tumultuous first year for the new stadium, which was estimated a year ago to have a final cost of €86m.
That has now spiralled by a whopping 28%, according to Croke Park stadium boss Peter McKenna who also revealed that the new stadium’s playing surface will have to be replaced.
He also confirmed the board of directors of the company appointed to run the stadium could not meet because such a meeting would have been illegal under company law.
In a revealing insight in today’s, Mr McKenna says that resolving the financial woes of the new stadium is a “10- to 15-year set-up”, adding that “costs escalated” during the redevelopment.
“It became clear in the middle of the year that the amount spent on the stadium way exceeded what people thought,” Mr McKenna said. “We’re probably close to €110 million as a final cost, and what was the ability to pay that?
As an association, we needed to take a far closer look at exactly what the position was — not so much ‘why is this happening’ as ‘where are we, and what can we do to stem the problem?’ That was the genesis of it.
“In order to stem the debt or put a shape to it, we needed an experienced management team involved. I think if it wasn’t an aligned set-up you’d be talking about a receivership or something like that. The ability to pay that amount of money back wasn’t there, but that’s not how we operate as an organisation.”
Mr McKenna also dismissed concerns that Cork GAA would have to consult Croke Park on matters of team costs and expenses going forward.
“Not at all,” he said. “That’s a matter for the county board — but that’s where this problem was heading. There was massive debt and the stadium debt needed to be untangled from the county board accounts.
“The most important things are the teams, not the stadium. Looking at the stadium as a separate unit, which is now solvent, with the executive well represented on the board, is by far the best way to do it.”