Councillor to seek a probe into vote on Marina Park lands
A city councillor wants the Ombudsman and the Minister for the Environment to examine last week’s vote by city councillors that clears the way for a planning application for the €45m redevelopment of Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
Councillors approved the rezoning of 6.8 acres of public land a part of the proposed Marina Park, by voting 21 to 9 in favour of a variation to the city development plan and the South Docklands Local Area Plan, to accommodate GAA plans to develop an all-weather training pitch as part of the multi-million euro stadium redevelopment.
Cllr Chris O’Leary wants to have this vote examined on two fronts. He had argued at last week’s city council meeting that a number of councillors had a “conflict of interest”, due to their affiliations with the GAA, and he now intends to raise this matter with the Minister.
Dutch firm wins €600k contract to design public park in Cork
By Eoin English
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
A Dutch firm has been awarded a €600,000 contract to design a massive new public park in Cork city to rival Dublin’s Phoenix Park.
Okra Landscape Architects, which has won several major awards for its design work around the world, was selected from a shortlist of six based in Ireland, France, and Germany, after the contract to design Marina Park was advertised internationally in late 2010.
It is expected the master plan will be completed by end of the year, or early next year.
The firm will have to draft plans to consolidate about 32 hectares of land in the city’s south docklands — an area around Páirc Uí Chaoimh and including the Atlantic Pond — into a high-quality city park.
Its architects will have to factor in controversial GAA plans to develop a centre of excellence alongside its flagship stadium, which is also earmarked for a revamp.
Controversial Páirc Uí Chaoimh rezoning rumbles on
Cork City councillor Chris O’Leary has accused some members of the Council as being “flippant” about suggestions that a conflict of interest is present over certain votes to rezone land in the proposed Marina Park.
He argues that many councillors have a conflict of interest in regards to the controversial rezoning of land near Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Some residents are very unhappy that the vote on the controversial rezoning of 6.82 acres was approved on a vote of 21 to 9 on Monday night at a meeting of Cork City Council.
Residents expressed disappointment following the vote outside the Council Chamber. “It’s all a bit chaotic the way the process was worked out,” said resident Denis O’Regan.
“We’re disappointed with the representatives who voted yes as they are supposed to represent the people but haven’t. The residents have not been given a voice in this.”
Cllr O’Leary believes that “there is a question about councillors voting on this when they are members of an association or club. I was heavily lobbied by members of the GAA across the board,” he revealed to The Cork Independent.
“The silence was deafening when the Meetings Administrator (Tadhg Keating) read out the Code of Conduct sections 3.6 and 3.7 before the vote was taken,” said Cllr O’Leary.
Cllr O’Leary, who voted against the rezoning, also described a three-man committee of councillors from the main political parties as an internal lobbying arm of the GAA before the debate commenced on Monday evening.
Cllr O’Leary also referred to an internal memo from Senior Planner at Cork City Council Anne Bogan, who had said a material contravention of the City Development and Docklands development plans was required, as opposed to the variation that was voted on.
“This is just systematic of planning in this country when the planners say one thing and the councillors just dismiss it. There are alternatives to the site but this is just a land grab by the councillors, officials and the GAA.”
However, Cllr Laura McGonigle (FG) who voted for the variation on land use, rejected any suggestion of a conflict of interest in the vote through her membership of the GAA.
“Most people in Irish society are members of the GAA so I don’t think there is a conflict there at all,” said Cllr McGonigle.
City manager defends price paid by GAA for land
By Eoin English
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Cork’s city manager has defended the sale price of public land to facilitate the GAA’s €40m revamp of Pairc Uí Chaoimh.
It followed criticism during a debate on Monday which resulted in the rezoning of a parcel of former Showgrounds land from open use to sports use, paving the way for the stadium revamp to proceed.
The GAA said last night that it hoped to lodge a substantial planning application this summer to expand stadium capacity, and to develop a centre of excellence on part of the former Showgrounds.
The land earmarked for the centre of excellence is part of a landbank acquired by compulsory purchases and taxpayers’ money for the development of the proposed Marina Park.
Several councillors criticised the fact that the rezoned land would now be sold to the GAA “for a song”, and that the centre of excellence would sever the public park.
Plan to redevelop Páirc Uí Chaoimh
LOUISE ROSEINGRAVE in Cork
A PLANNING application for a €45 million redevelopment of Cork’s Páirc Uí Chaoimh will be lodged this summer – but local residents have vowed to pursue their objections.
City councillors voted in favour of a variation to the city development plan to rezone 6.8 acres of public amenity space to sports grounds.
Sinn Féin councillor Chris O’Leary said there was a conflict of interest among councillors with GAA associations voting on the rezoning. “Almost all of the 21 councillors that voted to implement the variation had a vested interest in the GAA,” he said.
The GAA plans to expand the stadium, increasing capacity from 43,000 to 50,000, and to develop an all-weather pitch with a 1,000-seat stand and “centre of excellence” adjacent which would dissect an area of Cork docklands designated for green space.
The extension will include new player and referee changing rooms, corporate boxes, medical rooms, a gym and a restaurant.
“We are not against the redevelopment of Páirc Uí Chaoimh, we endorse it,” the chairman of Ballintemple Residents’ Association Patrick Mulley said, “but the land was purchased under CPO for Marina Park. Once these plots are taken for the all-weather pitch, what’s left is cut in two pieces and is very small.”
Land rezoned for Páirc development
By Eoin English
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Cork City Council rezoned almost seven acres of land next to Páirc Uí Chaoimh last night to facilitate the GAA’s €40m revamp of the flagship stadium.
They voted 21 to nine in favour of changing the zoning of an almost seven-acre parcel of land next to the stadium from public open space to sports ground.
It clears the way for the GAA to lodge a planning application to expand the stadium, increasing capacity from 43,000 to 50,000, and to develop a ‘centre of excellence’ next door to include an all-weather pitch and a 1,000-seat stand.
It will be built in the middle of the proposed Marina Park, which will be amongst the largest public parks in the country, second only in size to Dublin’s Phoenix Park.
But residents, who packed City Hall’s public galleries, have vowed to fight the project through the planning process. “A particular sporting code trumps citizens’ rights,” said a spokesperson for the Save Marina Park campaign afterwards.
Residents vow to fight Páirc Uí Chaoimh vote
By Eoin English
Monday, April 16, 2012
Residents fighting a proposal to rezone land next to Páirc Uí Chaoimh have vowed to pack Cork City Hall tonight and “look councillors in the eye” as they vote.
They are poised to vote on the rezoning of just under seven acres of land next to the GAA grounds which, if agreed, will pave the way for a €40m redevelopment of the stadium.
A simple majority is required. It is expected that the rezoning will get the green light.
Murphy insists Fitzgerald behind redevelopment
By Fintan O’Toole
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Cork county board secretary Frank Murphy last night insisted that Munster Council secretary Pat Fitzgerald was misquoted in recent reports that stated he had questioned the need to redevelop Páirc Uí Chaoimh as an all-seater high-capacity stadium.
It had been reported that in Fitzgerald’s annual address to the recent Munster Convention, the secretary had stated that with three grounds in the province already holding over 40,000 spectators, the redevelopment of the Cork grounds was redundant. However, Murphy responded to a query from a delegate at last night’s meeting of the Cork County Board by stating the secretary was always supportive of the board’s plan to redevelop the stadium.
“The secretary of the Munster Council was completely misquoted in this regard. I cannot understand how those comments were misinterpreted. The secretary has always been completely supportive of the stadium redevelopment.”
City Hall ‘make a mockery’ of pairc consultation process
Evening Echo 8 March 2012
Tale of two cities exposes danger of not having a plan
By Paddy Heaney
THURSDAY, MARCH 08, 2012
In the not too distant future both Casement Park and Páirc Uí Chaoimh will be bulldozed to the ground and completely rebuilt.
The prospect of two shiny new GAA stadiums rising from the ground during this gloomy economic period should be heartening.
Sadly, that is not the case. Instead, the background stories to both graphically illustrate the GAA’s leadership at its best and worst.
Conflicts of interest over Páirc Uí Chaoimh redevelopment
Cork City Councillor says he will seek legal advice about potential conflicts of interest by fellow councillors over the redevelopment of Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
On Monday, councillors gave the go-ahead for the proposed €45 million refurbishment of the stadium, which will bring its capacity up to 50,000. The plans also include proposals for new player changing rooms, function rooms, a gym and restaurant to make it one of the most modern stadiums in Ireland.
An adjoining all-weather floodlit pitch is also planned with a small stand, which will be the focal point of a new Centre of Excellence.
Cork City Council has agreed to sell 6.82 acres of land to the GAA to facilitate this, at a cost of €1.7 million. This has been hailed by the Council, as the land is being sold at €249,267 per acre and the land is valued at €90,000 per acre.
At the meeting, City Manager Tim Lucey circulated a letter to all councillors regarding a possible conflict of interest with councillors who are members of GAA clubs. While not advising councillors on what they should do, Mr Lucey said all councillors should read the document and decide if it was a conflict of interests for them.
City boss backs ‘bargain’ sale of land to GAA
By Eoin English
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
CORK’S city manager has defended what critics have called the “bargain sale” of public land to the GAA.
Tim Lucey was speaking after city councillors voted 24-6 in favour of the disposal of nearly seven acres at the former Showgrounds to the Cork GAA County Board for €1.7 million.
Cork City Council acquired the entire Showgrounds site from the Munster Agricultural Society in 2009 by compulsory purchase order for around €11.5m plus costs.
In a detailed report to councillors, Mr Lucey said that figure was agreed after a long arbitration process.
Land deal paves the way for €45m Páirc Uí Chaoimh revamp
By Eoin English
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
AMBITIOUS GAA plans for a €45 million revamp of Páirc Uí Chaoimh are set to go ahead after a long-awaited land deal was agreed last night.
After years of talks between GAA and city officials, Cork city councillors voted 24-6 in favour of disposing almost seven acres of publicly-owned land around the flagship stadium to the Cork County Board for €1.7m.
Cork stadium plans scaled back
By Fintan O’Toole
Monday, December 12, 2011
CORK GAA chiefs have ditched plans to increase the capacity of Páirc Uí Chaoimh to over 50,000 while the total cost of the redevelopment of the county’s flagship stadium has been priced at between €40m and €60m.
Delegates at Saturday night’s Cork GAA Convention in Páirc Uí Chaoimh were informed it is no longer financially viable to attempt to increase the capacity of the stadium and that instead they will be aiming to maintain the current capacity of 43,500.
In October the board received the green light from city council officials to start the project after the sale of seven acres of publicly owned land next to the stadium was agreed. In his annual report secretary Frank Murphy outlined it was hoped the planning and consultation phase will be completed in the next 12 months and construction would start within two years.
Planning inquiries are long overdue
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
OUR planning system has been under a cloud for decades. Votes on rezoning land have often been preceded by bribery dressed up as political donations.
Just weeks ago city councillors in Cork City ignored the advice of the city manager and city planners and voted to support GAA plans for an €40 million refurbishment of Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
One councillor described the lobbying he experienced before that vote as “the most intense ever”.
Board is ‘hopeful’ on key Páirc Uí Chaoimh land deal
By Jim O’Sullivan
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 28, 2010
CORK GAA officials admitted last night that their €30m-plus redevelopment plan for a state of the art Páirc Uí Chaoimh was still caught in a planning logjam – and has made little progress in the last 18 months.
However, County Board chairman Jerry O’Sullivan said he was confident that ongoing discussions with the City Council would produce positive results.
He admitted that there was no ‘Plan B’ in terms of an alternative proposal, but said he was hopeful of forward movement in the next month or two.
Acquiring additional lands alongside the stadium were vital to the phased redevelopment of Páirc Uí Chaoimh, including the construction of a two-tier stand and the establishment of a centre of excellence, county secretary Frank Murphy added.