Navan's Páirc Tailteann receives planning for 21,000-seater revamp
Meath GAA has been notified of a decision to grant full planning permission for a 21,000-seater redevelopment of their home grounds, Páirc Tailteann in Navan.
The county board expects to be in a position to put the first phase of the redevelopment out to tender once the four-week period that follows such notice has cleared. Because there were no objections or submissions made to Meath County Council in the planning process, work on the first phase is a formality.
Meath has the option of constructing a 4,000-seater stand where the existing terrace is with remedial work on the existing stand to improve the experience for 2,500 spectators which would be a short-term measure.
The planning incorporates 7,000-seater stands on either side of the ground with a further 7,000 seats between both ends.
However, this is the most ambitious reach of the plans with finance dictating that the initial phase will focus on developing a 4,000-seater stand on one side. A decision on which side will be made in the coming weeks.
The planning permission will remain in place for 10 years but construction may be modified to incorporate terracing at either end instead of seating. The granting of full planning permission for Páirc Tailteann may be timely in light of the establishment of a Department of Sport regional sports infrastructure fund.
Meath and Kildare are among a number of counties that have been in talks with the Department about the prospect of State funding for their project.
Plans are in place to set aside up to €50 million per year for regional sports facilities and Páirc Tailteann has been mentioned as one of the early recipients, along with the RDS and Dalymount Park, because it is deemed 'shovel-ready' or close to the commencement of construction.
The Department of Sport are currently setting out criteria for what type of projects would qualify but it is an additional scheme on top of the Sports Capital Programme.
Approval from the governing body, in this case, the GAA, would also be required.
Meath would need around €10m to complete the first phase of their redevelopment which would also see the re-installation of floodlights which were taken down on health and safety grounds prior to the 2015 All-Ireland U-21 final between Tipperary and Tyrone which was fixed for Navan but subsequently moved to Parnell Park.
Among the driving forces behind the plans to redevelop the ground are former GAA director-general Liam Mulvihill and former Government Minister Noel Dempsey.
Leinster GAA has given a commitment to provide some funding for Páirc Tailteann’s redevelopment. The GAA stadium standard in north and east Leinster is not high by comparison to the midlands and southern half of the province.
Parnell Park has capacity issues for bigger games, talks about redeveloping Drogheda’s Gaelic Grounds are ongoing while Kildare GAA are the early stages of knocking their existing stand in St Conleth’s Park, Newbridge and rebuilding, a project that is estimated to cost up to €7.5m. Plans for St Conleth’s Park, which incorporates floodlighting, include selling the naming rights.