Re: Pairc Ui Caoimh

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I know I’m a broken record on this but this HAS to become a municipal stadium. I’m not saying the GAA should part with it cheaply – they should be properly compensated – but it should then be a municipal stadium which all the various sporting bodies / clubs should lease. And don’t give me the economic arguments against it until we’ve at least done a proper analysis. Suffice it to say I think it could be run at a profit once concerts, hotels etc are thrown into the sporting mix (70% of Croke Park’s revenue is non match day related).

There is an article in today’s Examiner where Sean Kelly (now of the Irish Sports Council) talks of Ireland hosting sporting events like the Rugby WC or the European Championships in Football in the next 10 yrs. He lists as venues Croke Park, Landsdowne, Maze site in Belfast, Abbotstown (eh?) and Thomand Pk. The fact that Cork, Ireland’s most sporting county (both in terms of interest and success – about 50% of the country’s greatest sports people are/were rebels inc 4 of the first 5 in an RTE poll at the millenium) doesn’t get a mention (for obvious reasons) is a disgrace. I see the City Council gave Frank Murphy an award last month – any chance they could now call in a favour from the Great One?

Ciaran Lynch of Labour proposed a Motion last January calling for a study into the feasability of a municipal stadium. I know Ciaran has moved onto bigger and better things but this Motion needs to be followed up. Anyone any idea where it is at? I’ve e-mailed Ciaran Lynch already asking him to see that his co-opted successor doesn’t lose sight of this issue.

Finally that Examiner article for those interested is as follows:

“Kelly: bring on the big games

IRELAND could host, or co-host, events such as the Rugby World Cup or a European Soccer Championships within the next decade, according to executive chairman of the Irish Institute of Sports, Sean Kelly.

The former GAA president believes that developing sports infrastructure north and south, a mild climate and an improving transport system makes Ireland the ideal location for such showpiece events.

He explained: “We are getting the infrastructures in place. Stadium-wise, we will have the new Lansdowne Road, a stadium at Abbotstown and a possible new development in the Maze in Belfast.

“We also will have a revamped Thomond Park, and the possibility of using Croke Park for other sports, depending on the GAA’s attitude post 2009.

“These are all modern state-of-the-art projects capable of hosting top international events. The key is to have two grounds to take the major games while the other grounds can take lesser matches.

“Given the number of airlines and airports now in existence, the issue of co hosting an event could also be explored.”

Mr Kelly doesn’t see any issues with venues like Thomond Park hosting a soccer game should the need arise.

“Rugby never had a problem with soccer. After all, Lansdowne Road is a rugby stadium first and foremost and then it opened to soccer.

“There were plenty of rugby grounds around the country who opened their doors to GAA clubs when they were in trouble.”

Despite the costs of hosting such events, Mr Kelly is convinced that such tournaments offer a win-win situation for Irish sports and the economy.

“There is massive publicity to be gained from a tourism perspective — just think back to the Ryder Cup.

“Then you have all the hotels, shops and businesses that would benefit. And don’t forget the exposure that the sports themselves would get.”

Mr Kelly continued: “We should be targeting something like this as a long-term strategy. The Department of Sports has a committee set up to look at the knock-on benefits of the Olympics Games in London in 2012 and how we can cash in on it.

“They are planning to get teams to come here on training camps and then try to extend their stays. We as a country are starting to look outwards.

“That committee is a first step in that direction. There are other possibilities like sending some out to France to the Rugby World Cup to make contacts and gain more information about what is required to host a major sporting event.” “

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