CLARE GAA has secured three acres of land in Ennis a property deal believed to be worth around €500,000 that is seen as crucial to secure the future of Cusack Park as a top-flight inter-county ground.
The announcement of the land deal, which is expected to be signed off on in the coming days, was made by the chairman of the Clare County Board audit committee, Michael Curtin at last Thursday’s February monthly meeting of Clare GAA.
It brings to an end months of speculation over the future development plans for Cusack Park after The Clare People exclusively revealed last November that negotiations were at an advanced stage between the Clare County Board, Ennis Town Council and a local property owner over a land deal.
The land, which the Clare GAA have now secured from a local property owner, is at the back of the Cloister Bar and Restaurant – a bank of ground that’s seen as crucial to the county board’s plans to ensure that Cusack Park has a capacity large enough to host top-flight inter-county games.
The Clare People learned of plans to develop a carpark capable of catering for 160 cars, while at the same time opening up a new entrance to Cusack Park – something that’s seen a key to ensuring that the seat of Clare GAA meets the new stringent health and safety requirements for stadia set by the Croke Park authorities.
The move to invest further in Cusack Park, which a county board source has said “involves an initial outlay of €500,000”, comes against a backdrop of criticism of the facilities levelled at last Thursday’s board meeting in the West County Hotel.
“The pitch isn’t available all the time to our county teams,” said Whitegate chairman David Solon “plus the fact when you go into any dressing room, or any facility the one thing that has to be maintained spotlessly is the toilets.
“I’ve heard numerous complaints about the smell of urine coming out of the main toilets.
“There’s an awful lot of money being spent in Cusack Park and I’m not sure is it money well spent,” he added.
“We have spent €400,000 on Cusack Park over the past four years,” said secretary Pat Fitzgerald. “The Northern Stand had to be replaced, drainage had to be done and the perimeter fence had to be done.
“We have upgraded the toilets and are trying to eliminate the smell and if we allocate another sum of money we will eliminate the quite easily. We are trying to work as prudently as we can,” he added.
In 2011, a health and safety audit carried out nationwide by Michael Slattery & Associates on behalf of Croke Park resulted in the capacity of Cusack Park being reduced to 14,864.
In response to what what a daming report, Clare GAA invested heavilty in the refurbishment of Cusack Park through drainage works, replacing pitch perimeter fencing and erecting the new Northern Stand.
As part of this land deal, Horgan Lynch Architects from Cork, who have acted as consultants to Clare GAA on improvements and redevelopment works at Cusack Park, submitted a traffic management plan on the project to Ennis Town Council.

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Joe Ó Muircheartaigh graduated from University College Dublin in 1989 with a degree in history and politics. After completing a Diploma in Journalism at The College of Commerce, Rathmines in 1991, he embarked on a career in journalism. Joe spent four years with Clare FM from 1992 and was with The Clare Champion from 1996 to 2005. He has won two McNamee Awards for GAA journalism and has published two books. Contact Joe on [email protected]

1 COMMENT

  1. The facilities for the disabled in Cusack Park are a disgrace, bad viewing area not cordoned off and unmarked wheelchair area. There is an actual steel cage obstructing the view to the right hand side of the pitch from what is loosely called the disabled section of Cusack Park.Unless this is upgraded along with the other facilities then there will be objections on Health and Safety grounds.

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