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The final cost of the Páirc Uí Chaoimh redevelopment is projected at €96M.

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Cost of Páirc Uí Chaoimh redevelopment estimated at €96M

By John Harrington

GAA Director General, Tom Ryan, has said the ultimate cost of the redevelopment of Páirc Uí Chaoimh is projected at €96M.

This is €17.5M more than the initial projection for the refurbishment of the stadium.

In his Annual Report, which was released today, the GAA’s Director General outlined why the costs have over-run.

"Project costs escalated and budgetary control proved inadequate,” wrote Ryan in his Annual Report.

“Costs also increased due to the emergence of elements that were never within the original scope but subsequently proved to be needed – the pitch being foremost among those.

“To exacerbate those problems, the income streams identified to fund the project failed to materialise. The sale of 10-year premium seats was undersubscribed and land that was earmarked to be sold to fund part of the build cost proved to be overvalued.

“That sale is now pending. Several significant elements are still under negotiation.

“Hence the ultimate cost of the project is still not finalised, but an ultimate cost of €96m is reliably projected. A bank facility was negotiated to allow the project to reach completion.

“This loan was cosigned by the Cork County Board, the Páirc Uí Chaoimh Stadium company and the Croke Park Stadium company. In addition, a further round of financial support was required from Central GAA over the past 18 months. This was to fund critical stadium completion works, including the pitch.

“This additional funding took the form of a loan of €10m. The Current Position Bank borrowings for the project currently stand at €21.5m. There is also a debt owed to Croke Park of €10m.

“The anticipated resolution of various ongoing negotiations and the sale of assets will leave an underlying long-term debt in the region of €20m.”

GAA Ard Stiúrthóir Tom Ryan in attendance during the GAA/Croke Park Financial Reports and Director General’s Annual Report Media Briefing at the GAA Museum in Croke Park, Dublin.
GAA Ard Stiúrthóir Tom Ryan in attendance during the GAA/Croke Park Financial Reports and Director General’s Annual Report Media Briefing at the GAA Museum in Croke Park, Dublin.

Ryan has acknowledged that addressing this debt will be a considerable financial challenge for Cork GAA, but they are expected to meet it head on.

“These loans are recorded in the accounts of Cork County Board and the primary responsibility for repayment rests with Cork and the Páirc Uí Chaoimh stadium,” wrote Ryan in his report.

“It must be acknowledged that debt repayment of this scale will prove to be very challenging for both the Cork CountyCommittee and its Páirc Uí Chaoimh stadium company subsidiary.

“All avenues will have to be explored to resolve matters. The wider Association expects and knows that Cork GAA and its proud club base fully respects the gravity of the financial problem now facing them.

“There is a clear and simple expectation that Cork will face this challenge head on and deal with it. I know that Cork does realise the scale of the issue and does accept its role in resolving it.

“I am encouraged to report that an eminent and capable board is in place in the stadium to guide it. A coordinated, forward-looking business plan to deal with the likely funding difficulties is in preparation.

“Restructuring of Cork’s finances and fundraising has begun. Repayment schedules have been agreed and repayments have in fact commenced. Other counties have faced similar challenges before.”

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