‘It’s im­por­tant we have cred­i­ble venues for in­ter­na­tional acts out­side Dublin’

Irish Examiner - Supplement - - PÁIRC UÍ CHAOIMH SPECIAL - Bren­dan O’Brien

onor Healy is a life­long mem­ber of the Éire Óg club in Ovens.

He has played and coached and, with four daugh­ters, it isn’t any great sur­prise to hear that he has de­voted a fair bit of time to the camo­gie branch of the na­tional games.

The chief ex­ec­u­tive of Cork Cham­ber of Com­merce, he is also a mem­ber of the busi­ness sub-com­mit­tee for the new Páirc Uí Chaoimh which was set up by the county board early on in the re­de­vel­op­ment process to as­sist in the fi­nanc­ing of the project.

Un­for­tu­nate then that he wasn’t able to take in the first game in the new sta­dium on Wed­nes­day when Val­ley Rovers faced Blar­ney in a county PIHC tie.

And that he can’t make the pair of All-Ireland quar­ter-fi­nals fea­tur­ing Clare, Tip­per­ary, Wex­ford, and Water­ford. Away on hol­i­days, you see. Bad tim­ing. “Not great,” he laughs, “but there will be plenty more chances down the line.” Few can ap­pre­ci­ate so clearly the ar­ray of longterm ben­e­fits that can ac­crue from a project of this mag­ni­tude. Healy ad­mits that hardly a sin­gle con­ver­sa­tion has been able to pass for weeks now with­out some men­tion of the new Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

“It’s mas­sively im­por­tant for the city and the wider Cork re­gion,” he ex­plained.

“Any thriv­ing and suc­cess­ful econ­omy needs a bal­ance of in­fra­struc­ture.

“Páirc Uí Chaoimh will bring a sport­ing and cul­tural in­fra­struc­ture we didn’t have. The old Páirc Uí Chaoimh had served its time but a fit-for-pur­pose sta­dium was re­quired.

“This will suit both lo­cal and na­tional needs and I would hope to see more cham­pi­onship games at an ad­vanced stage, like quar­ter-fi­nals and maybe even be­yond, played there down the years.

“It’s fan­tas­tic we have the Ed Sheeran con­certs al­ready set for next May.

“These big events are a huge boost to the lo­cal econ­omy. The es­ti­mates for each one is €10m and up.

“That’s ev­ery­one from ho­tels to bars and restau­rants and taxis.

“It also ex­pands well out into the wider re­gion when it is on that sort of scale. Cork can now host the big­gest events on suc­ces­sive and mul­ti­ple oc­ca­sions and that is good for the coun­try as a whole. It’s im­por­tant that we have cred­i­ble venues for in­ter­na­tional acts out­side of Dublin.”

Sport­ing and cul­tural events are only two of the three prongs to the project.

Just be­cause there isn’t a roar em­a­nat­ing from a sta­dium doesn’t mean it isn’t earn­ing its corn.

The new Páirc Uí Chaoimh is an im­por­tant ad­di­tion to the busi­ness com­mu­nity, too. “That’s the third part of it,” said Healy. “As a busi­ness lo­ca­tion, the new sta­dium has the ca­pac­ity to host con­fer­ences, meet­ings and ex­hi­bi­tions and it will add to the ex­ist­ing in­fra­struc­ture that we have for that in Cork. The Cork Cham­ber of Com­merce have al­ready made our first book­ing there with the Cork Dig­i­tal Mar­ket­ing Awards in October. The sta­dium is a dif­fer­ent venue and it will sup­ple­ment and com­ple­ment what Cork al­ready has to of­fer in that sense.

“It’s a world-class sta­dium, based in Cork. This is an op­por­tu­nity to max­imise that to ev­ery­one’s ben­e­fit. Aside from GAA games, the con­certs and con­fer­ences, it will hope­fully be a venue for the 2023 Rugby World Cup. “People are anx­ious to get in and see it. There’s an ex­cite­ment about see­ing the venue for the first time. It will change the land­scape.”

Pic­ture: Clare Keogh

THE A TEAM: Ed Sheeran’s con­certs at Páirc Uí Chaiomh will bring thou­sands of vis­i­tors to Cork next year. Pic­ture: Yui Mok/PA Wire Right: Cork Cham­ber of Com­merce chief ex­ec­u­tive says the sta­dium is an im­por­tant ad­di­tion to the busi­ness com­mu­nity.

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