Sport GAA

Thursday 8 December 2016

GAA chief Paraic Duffy 'confident' about Pairc Ui Chaoimh and Casement Park redevelopments

Published 16/04/2015 | 02:30

Croke Park
Croke Park
Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring T.D, today announced an investment package of €7.4 million from the Irish Sports Council to support grass roots development in rugby, football and Gaelic games. Pictured are Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring T.D, with, from left, Marie Louise Reilly, from the Ireland ladies rugby team, Charlie Harrison, Sligo footballer, John Delaney, Chief Executive of the FAI, Paraic Duffy Ard Sti?rthoir of the GAA, Phillip Brown, IRFU Chief Executive, John Treacy, CEO of the Irish Sports Council, Kieran Mulvey, Chairman, Irish Sports Council, and Republic of Ireland International Julie Ann Russell. Croke Park, Dublin.

GAA director general Paraic Duffy remains "absolutely confident" that the redevelopment of Pairc Ui Chaoimh and Casement Park will go ahead despite recent setbacks.

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Reports suggested that Pairc Ui Chaoimh's €70m revamp into a state-of-the-art 45,000-capacity stadium had run into complications due to paperwork requirements but Duffy played down any suggestion the projects could face a significant delays.

"Pairc Ui Chaoimh will be fine," he said. "It's an issue between Cork and the Department, in terms of documentation, but I'm absolutely confident that will be resolved. I think the Department are looking for information, and the way Cork presented that isn't exactly the way they wanted. But I've no doubt it will be resolved."

Duffy conceded that the bid to rebuild Casement Park had run into more serious obstacles after the project failed to gain planning permission after a clash with a local residents group.

The GAA are looking to turn the Belfast venue into a modern 38,000-capacity venue that would form a hub for GAA activities in Ulster.

"We've a few issues with Casement Park, as well, which means reapplying for planning permission," said Duffy.

"Pairc Ui Chaoimh shouldn't be severely affected. Casement has slowed down, but I'm confident it can go through, and I'm very committed to it.

"I expect both Casement and Pairc Ui Chaoimh to be completed, maybe a little later in terms in Casement, but long before the Rugby World Cup."

His confidence is a welcome shot in the arm for Ireland's hopes of hosting the 2023 Rugby World Cup as both stadia form part of the bid to bring the competition here.

In their current state, neither venue could form part of the bid, which is due to be decided upon in mid-2017.

Duffy was speaking at the Irish Sports Council's funding announcement for grass-roots development in the three major field sports.

The GAA (€2.4m), IRFU (€2.36m) and FAI (€2.7m) didn't see a cut to their funding, which remains at 2014 levels.

"We're very happy with that," Duffy said. "It's on a three-year basis, so we kind of knew what to expect. We weren't expecting any increase. We'd be hoping, going forward, that perhaps there could be an increase in future years, bearing in mind the economy is improving."

Duffy admitted that the GAA face significant challenges in their attempts to complete the GAA season in a calendar year.

However, he reiterated his commitment to the idea despite the slow nature of progress to date.

"We may have to address some of the calendar year issues. It is slow. There has been some negative reaction to it. But I think all the issues can be overcome," he said.

"Whether we will be ready to bring it in next year is questionable but the commitment to bring it in is still there. We still believe it is the way forward but we have to address the concerns people have.

"We have to resolve those. Do we have solutions? No. Are we working on them? Yes. And we still believe it is the way forward.

"We have to reassure dual counties we can deal with the issues they have and we are trying to do that but we are not going to rush that."

Irish Independent

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