GAA gets the green light for 45,000-seater stadium to rival Aviva
The GAA has secured planning permission for a €70m redevelopment of Pairc Ui Chaoimh in Cork that aims to make it a rival of Croke Park and the Aviva Stadium.
Cork County Board confirmed it has secured planning permission for the project from the city council.
Work on the project, which will create 400 jobs during its development phase, is expected to get under way later this year.
County Board chairman Bob Ryan said it was a landmark day for the GAA, adding: "The decision to grant planning permission for the redevelopment of Pairc Ui Chaoimh and the establishment of a centre of excellence is tremendous news for the GAA, for sport and for the city and county of Cork.
"The 'new' Pairc Ui Chaoimh will house state-of-the-art playing and training facilities, performance assessment and rehab facilities, an all-weather pitch, restaurants, conference facilities and a museum.
"The new development will address a deficit in Cork's business and tourism infrastructure and create an ongoing economic dividend for Cork."
Cork County Board said the development offers a €22m boost to the south-west's economy and said that a single major fixture at the stadium, such as last summer's Bruce Springsteen concert, can generate up to €10m in commercial spin-offs.
The stadium redevelopment – which will be funded by the GAA – is a key part of a wider plan to turn the adjacent Marina Park into a major leisure and residential area.
The modernised stadium will have a 45,000 capacity and allow it to compete for major sporting and cultural events alongside the Aviva and Croke Park.
The ambitious redevelopment includes the modernisation of the existing stadium; the roofing of both stands; new dressing rooms, medical and catering facilities; new press and conference rooms; a dedicated GAA museum; enhanced spectator access; and a new Centre of Sports Excellence, including all-weather flood-lit pitch, gym and sports study facilities.
However, some Cork marina residents claimed the original sale of the land to the GAA to facilitate the redevelopment amounted to a betrayal of locals.
Some residents had wanted all the land to be allocated to a new public park being developed on the former Munster Agricultural Society land but the €70m stadium expansion required a portion of that land being acquired by the GAA.