Wednesday 12 December 2018

Waterford GAA to respond to stinging criticism from former Sports Minister Martin Cullen

Martin Cullen (inset) has criticised Waterford GAA
Martin Cullen (inset) has criticised Waterford GAA
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Waterford GAA are preparing a statement to refute some of the allegations made by former Government Minister Martin Cullen in relation to the development of a stadium at the Waterford IT sports campus in Carriganore.

Speaking on WLR FM, the former Sports Minister was critical of the board for the handling of the stadium issue in the city more than a decade ago, the legacy of which has been heavily felt this year.

He claimed he was told at the time that there was no money to redevelop Walsh Park, they were in debt and they would struggle to raise even €1m to help get the project under way.

Cullen told the station: “I was left in a situation which I was astonished about, but I decided there must be more than one way to skin a cat.”

The former Minister said he opened negotiations with Waterford IT about developing a 25,000-capacity stadium which would cost in the region of €25m.

According to Cullen, the plan was for the GAA to sell Walsh Park and put the money towards the development which would be part-funded by the Department of Education and Sport.

“In my entire career, I was never asked to meet the county board in Waterford, even though I asked to meet them. Not once, ever.

“The county board wanted 100pc funding for Walsh Park, which wasn’t being given to any other stadium in the country.

“For somebody to use excuses and blame somebody else for their own failings is quite appalling.

“The county board must take responsibility for their stewardship. What happened this year is the responsibility of the GAA in Waterford,” added Cullen.

Cullen was referring to Waterford’s decison to switch their home Munster Championship games against Tipperary and Cork to the Gaelic Grounds and Semple Stadium because of Walsh Park capacity and safety issues.

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