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Páirc Uí Chaoimh redevelopment will create 400 jobs - Cork County Board

The two-year modernization project is expected to begin in the autumn of 2013, subject to planning approval.

Image: ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

OVER 400 JOBS will be created by a project to redevelop Páirc Uí Chaoimh, the Cork GAA County Board revealed following a briefing on Thursday evening.

The plans to modernise the home of Cork GAA and restore it as one of the country’s premier sports stadiums by 2015 will cost €67 million, and will also include the construction of an integrated Centre of Excellence.

Former GAA President Christy Cooney was in attendance and called for the project’s support as county bosses announced their expected timetable and funding plans.

Construction is due to begin in the autumn of 2013, subject to a successful planning application.

The project is “tremendously exciting for the GAA, for sport in general and for Cork itself,” county chairman Bob Ryan said, warning that it was not an option for Páirc Uí Chaoimh to remain in its current state.

Currently the stadium, which opened in 1976, can hold a maximum of 43,500 spectators due to safety restrictions. The redeveloped stadium will have games capacity of 45,000, smaller than the figures of 50-60,000 originally discussed.

“If we are serious about showcasing our games, attracting spectators, encouraging players and sustaining and enhancing the contribution of the GAA to the sporting community life of Cork, then this project needs to proceed,” said Ryan.

A planning application will be made in October, delegates were told.

The redevelopment project has previously met with opposition from local residents who fear that that it will hamper the creation of 100 acre public park. In April city councillors voted to rezone 6.8 acres of public amenity space within the Marina Park project for use as sports grounds, a move which opponents say will effectively sever the new park in two.

The county board moved to allay such fears in a statement yesterday. “The Board and its consultants are currently engaged in intensive discussions with Cork City Council and with the Dutch consultants who are master planning the proposed 100 acre Marina Park surrounding the stadium.”

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The project will result in a direct €22 million boost to the construction and related sectors, the meeting was told. The stadium will be part-financed by the GAA as well as by commercial revenue, ticket sales and other funding.

Plans for Páirc Uí Chaoimh include the redevelopment and roofing of both stands; the incorporation of new dressing rooms and pre-match warm-up areas; medical facilities; restaurants; meeting and conference rooms; a press room; a museum; new and additional turnstiles; the elimination of the existing stadium “tunnels”; and the creation of new access and egress points for spectators.

The Centre of Excellence will include an all-weather pitch, a new gymnasium, dressing rooms, and video and performance assessment facilities.

A public viewing area of 1,000 capacity for the all-weather pitch will form part of the redevelopment of the existing covered stand.

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