Category: Archive

Croker redevelopment £40 million over budget

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Mark Jones

DUBLIN — On the back of a running debate over whether Croke Park should be opened up to other sports such as rugby and soccer, the GAA revealed last weekend that the redevelopment of its stadium had run nearly £40 million over budget.

Estimates for the refurbishment of the historic stadium had initially been projected at £135 million. The figure, however, has now ballooned to £174 million. This admission by the GAA was significant given that it strenuously denied a report last August that had suggested that the Croke Park project had overrun its projected costs.

While the association is in a position to service the debt, there will undoubtedly be more pressure now to make the new stadium more cost-effective. With that in mind, the GAA also announced that a management team would be hired to run Croke Park as a commercial concern. The new committee will be charged with raising extra revenue to pay for maintenance costs, which will run at about £2.5 million a year, and to recoup the financial outlay of the building program.

County chairmen and secretaries were informed of the developments at a meeting last Saturday. One chairman said that while opening Croke Park to other sports wasn’t on the agenda, it was in the back of many people’s minds.

"The cost of redeveloping Croke Park is frightening," he said. "It will mean that clubs and counties will get less revenues for their activities, so in the end we’ll all suffer.

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"Croke Park has to raise extra revenue. What’s the point of having a massive stadium idle for nearly six months of the year while the rest of us are struggling to meet financial demands at local level?"

The increase of nearly £40 million in building costs is likely to be followed by a request from the GAA to the Irish government for additional funding. The government has already made £25 million in grants for the stadium refurbishment.

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