Pearse Stadium floodlight plans grow dimmer

Pearse Stadium under temporary floodlights for Ireland v Australia in 2006.

THE possibility of Galway GAA authorities ‘moving’ on their planning permission grant to erect floodlights at Pearse Stadium in the short-term now seems ‘highly unlikely’, the Galway City Tribune has learned.

An Bord Pleanála granted permission for the erection of the high-quality floodlights at the Salthill venue on December 30, 2014, after an initial ‘grant decision’ by City Council planners had been appealed by a number of local residents.

However, according to GAA sources, the possibility of any short-term move to proceed with the floodlights development – that could cost in the region of €1 million – now seems ‘remote’ given the current financial position of Galway County Board.

The Galway County Board are currently servicing a debt of over €2 million to the GAA’s Central Council, most of it incurred in the purchase of 100 acres of land at Mountain South between Craughwell and Athenry.

It had been planned by the Galway Hurling Board at the time to develop the lands – bought at the height of the boom for around €2.5m – into a training centre and centre of excellence, but now the land is back on the market as the County Board tries to service its debt to the Central Council.

According to sources within Galway GAA, there is ‘absolutely no room for manoeuvre’ in terms of any further projects involving significant capital expenditure being embarked upon.

The Mountain South lands are now considered to be only of agricultural value – probably a potential maximum figure in the region of €8,000 per acre, or a total of €800,000.

They also pointed out that the short-term future of putting the lights in place was doomed once the Irish bid last November to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup failed.

“If the Rugby World Cup bid had been successful, then significant grant aid would have come on stream to upgrade the designated stadiums including Pearse Stadium,” one GAA source told the Galway City Tribune.

See full story in this week’s Galway City Tribune.