Concern over impact of Spawell stadium
By Mary Dennehy
REPORTS that the GAA is close to completing a deal that will pave the way for the development of a 25,000 capacity stadium at the Spawell site has caused concern among residents – who believe that a stadium of this size would shut down the area on match days, trapping people in their estates.
Last week it emerged that the Dublin County Board is close to completing a deal to purchase the Spawell site in Templeogue, which, after a failed bid in 2015 to buy the 35-acre complex, was sold by NAMA to a private investor.
As reported in The Echo in September 2015, GAA insiders believed that the Dublin County Board had not given up on the Templeogue site, and was hoping to open up negotiations with the new buyer.
According to reports, the Board did open those negotiations in the later part of 2016, with a deal in the region of €9m expected to be sealed in the coming days.
If completed, the stadium would provide Dublin with a GAA stadium on the southside of the city for league and club games, providing an alternative to the 13,000-seat Parnell Park in Clontarf – with The Echo understanding that plans to run the Luas to the stadium are also in the mix.
The area in which the Spawell is located has strong ties to the GAA, with the site lying in close proximity to Faughs GAA Club, St Jude’s GAA Club and Ballyboden St Enda’s.
One resident told The Echo: “The community here is very supportive of the local GAA clubs and I think that people would not oppose a GAA centre of excellence or playing fields on the site.
“However, a lot of people don’t want a stadium.
“The site is totally unsuitable in terms of access as it is bordered by public parkland on one side, a dual carriageway on the other and a housing estate on the other.
“That leaves the Wellington Lane side which already experiences heavy traffic and tailbacks – what would happen if 25,000 people were thrown into the mix?
“In terms of getting people into the stadium, how do they plan to do that?
“There are no Luas or rail links, with the current bus service just adequate for local residents.
“However, what people are dreading most is the parking. Residents have little doubt that parking would spill out into estates.
“The potential volume of traffic would just shut down the area, residents would be trapped in estates.”
Residents, who have also cited noise and the overshadowing of homes among their concerns, have also criticised the county board for its lack of consultation.
Local Labour Party councillor Pamela Kearns told The Echo: “It’s very early days and as a councillor I haven’t heard anything official on this yet, so it is hard to make a judgement call.
“From what I’ve heard the development does not seem do-able in this area or so close to estates, but in saying that, maybe there is underground car parking? Who knows?
“I’ve spoken with the county manager [of South Dublin County Council] and he has no information either, we have nothing, so it’s hard to operate in a vacuum.
“However I do anticipate a lot of objection to a stadium but not to a centre of excellence – that’s what I’m hearing on the ground.
“Bringing up to 25,000 people into the area for matches would hugely impact on the quality of life for people living in the area.”
While concerns have been raised, many have noted the positive impact a stadium development could have for the region in terms of employment, tourism and sport.
However, at this early stage and in the absence of details, communities will have to wait until the Dublin County Board gets the reported land deal over the bar.
The Echo did contact the Dublin County Board but they are not commenting at this time.