Páirc Uí Chaoimh revamp costs soar to over €100m as GAA step in

THE REDEVELOPMENT OF Páirc Ui Chaoimh is expected to cost €110 million — almost €25 million over its estimated budget — with Croke Park set to step in. 

The Irish Examiner’s Michael Moynihan is reporting this morning that alarmed GAA authorities have made the decision to take over the running of the grounds for at least a decade, while covering the debt.

Last year, it was revealed that the stadium would have a final cost of €86 million. But the latest development comes as a startling revelation.

Croke Park stadium boss Peter McKenna has said that resolving the Páirc’s financial problems is a “10 to 15-year set-up.”

“It became clear in the middle of the year that the amount spent on the stadium way exceeded what people thought,” Mr McKenna told the Irish Examiner.

“We’re probably close to €110 million as a final cost, and what was the ability to pay that? 

“In order to stem the debt or put a shape to it, we needed an experienced management team involved. I think if it wasn’t an aligned set-up you’d be talking about a receivership or something like that.

“The ability to pay that amount of money back wasn’t there, but that’s not how we operate as an organisation.”

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He confirmed the company’s board of directors who were appointed to run the stadium could not meet because that would have been illegal under company law, and added that the 45,000-capacity stadium’s playing surface will be replaced.

On the concerns that Cork GAA might have to consult Croke Park on team costs and further expenses doing forward, McKenna dismissed those.

“Not at all,” he said. “That’s a matter for the county board — but that’s where this problem was heading. There was massive debt and the stadium debt needed to be untangled from the county board accounts.

“The most important things are the teams, not the stadium. Looking at the stadium as a separate unit, which is now solvent, with the executive well represented on the board, is by far the best way to do it.”

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