Residents living near the hallowed Munster rugby home have agreed to sell their houses for double their market value to the Irish Rugby Football Union. This will allow the capacity of Thomond Park to be increased, and will mean that Munster will not have to move to a new ground as had been feared.
Sixteen residents in a terrace of houses adjacent to Thomond Park stand to get €350,000 each for homes currently valued at €180,000.
Talks between the IRFU and the residents are set to resume this evening.
The IRFU has reached agreement with all the residents of Knockalisheen Road.
Talks hit a price stalemate last November with the IRFU offering €200,000 for each of the houses.
The houses, numbers 13 to 28 Knockalisheen Road, run parallel to the ‘popular side’ terrace at Thomond Park.
Three of the houses are owned by Limerick City Council and the 13 others are privately owned.
The IRFU has also been in talks with Limerick City Council about 10 apartments, also located at Knockalisheen Road, and these negotiations are understood to have made good progress.
Consultancy firm Arup was engaged by the IRFU to identify a way forward with regards to a Munster rugby venue. They recently presented three options: a redeveloped Thomond Park or a new greenfield site in one of two unspecified locations in Limerick believed to be the University of Limerick and the old racecourse at Greenpark.
Architects and stadium planners have told the IRFU that the demolition of the Knockalisheen Road houses and apartments will be essential to turn Thomond Park into a 28,000 all-seater stadium. At present Thomond Park has a capacity of 13,000.
Ken Lyons, president of the Munster Branch of the IRFU, confirmed that a meeting is due to take place tonight with residents.
Munster’s next big Heineken European Cup fixture against Perpignan, even though a home fixture, has been scheduled for Lansdowne Road as Thomond Park does not have the requisite minimum capacity for such a fixture.