Pairc Ui Chaoimh unveils plans for new GAA museum and further enhancements to public realm near stadium

New Community Liaison Officer appointed to engage with local and business communities

Páirc Uí Chaoimh Stadium Board has unveiled plans to improve the public offering at the stadium. The plans submitted to Cork City Council include a new GAA Museum and a new Visitor Experience centre including a café at ground floor level. There are also interior changes to enhance the stadium’s attractiveness as a conference venue together with new entrances and a car park off Monahan Road.

The pedestrianisation of the Marina, along with the development of Marina Park, has resulted in the need to change how the stadium is accessed. The proposed access changes aim to address safety issues resulting from the pedestrianisation of the Marina, which has restricted access to the only current vehicular entrance to the stadium.

The proposed routes have been successfully used in recent weeks to facilitate over 2,000 vehicular movements per day using the vaccination centre. The numbers using the same route under this planning proposal are expected to be a fraction of that number.

In anticipation of an increased number of visitors to the area with the completion of Marina Park, the Board is also seeking to increase the number of parking spaces available close to the stadium. The availability of these spaces is viewed as important in addressing a historic deficit in parking for disabled visitors to the stadium, and in ensuring that visitors to Páirc Uí Chaoimh or the Marina Park have a safe location to park.

Included in the proposed changes are significant new landscaping and tree planting, car and bus pick-up and drop-off points, a new set down area at the main entrance, a new drop off point at the main entrance and a new bicycle parking station on the Monahan Road/Park Avenue junction. A new accessible playground is being proposed between Páirc Uí Chaoimh and the Atlantic Pond.

A Planning Application for the proposed changes has been lodged following engagement with local residents, elected representatives and Cork City Council. The Board believes that its application is in line with the objectives and opportunities identified in the Marina Park Masterplan, 2013, the South Docks Local Area Plan, 2008 and the Cork City Development Plan, 2015.

Páirc Uí Chaoimh Stadium Board/Cork County Board have also appointed a Community Liaison Officer to deal with issues arising from traffic flow, access and the community impact of events at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. The new officer has already begun engaging with the local community in advance of events and matches at the stadium. In time, Páirc Uí Chaoimh will appoint a Sustainability Officer to help ensure that all events hosted by Páirc Uí Chaoimh meet the highest environmental standards, promote sustainability and significantly reduce waste.

Chairperson of the Páirc Uí Chaoimh Stadium Board, John Horan, says, “The Board has carefully assessed the Business Plan for Páirc Uí Chaoimh in developing this new proposal. We need to ensure that we put in place an acceptable plan that while ensuring its commercial viability, it also respects the environment and our neighbours. Where events of any kind are staged at Páirc Uí Chaoimh, every effort will be made to encourage people not to drive to the stadium. We believe that the stadium has to lead the way in promoting more sustainable methods of transport.”

Marc Sheehan, Chairperson of Cork GAA, says, “The new Community Liaison Officer will also be tasked with reviewing plans for access to the stadium on match days, and other occasions where significant numbers of people will seek to travel to the site. Their mission will be to ensure minimal disruption to neighbouring communities around the stadium, and engage with them in a timely manner ahead of such events. We are committed to the introduction of a clear and accessible communication pathway between the stadium and all stakeholders including our neighbours to deal with any issues that might arise.”

Michael O’Flynn, a member of Páirc Uí Chaoimh Stadium Board, says, “The focus for Páirc Uí Chaoimh Stadium Board is on ensuring that the people of Cork get to enjoy the real benefits from the enhanced public realm around Páirc Uí Chaoimh and Marina Park. The pedestrianisation of the Marina has made accessing the site from its north side extremely difficult and dangerous to pedestrians. Vehicular access has to transfer to Monahan Road for safety reasons, and in doing so, we need to ensure that we put in place an acceptable plan that respects both the environment and our neighbours. We also needed to provide some additional disabled spaces for users of both the stadium and Marina Park. We look forward to engaging with Cork City Council, local elected representatives and residents groups in the weeks ahead.”