Words: Eva O’Beirne
In a statement this morning, the campaign to save the football grounds in Drumcondra called on Dublin City Council and Shelbourne F.C. to ensure the Dublin City Development Plan is “not undermined behind closed doors”.
As a stadium, Tolka has a proud legacy – it hosted the first floodlit football match in the Republic of Ireland in 1953, it was the venue for the first televised League of Ireland game in 1997 and became the first all-seater stadium in domestic football in 1999. It was also the venue for the first Women’s National League match in 2019.
It has been a year since Dublin City Council (DCC) announced that Shelbourne had submitted a proposal to purchase the grounds. Since then, the 2022-2028 Dublin City Development Plan has come into effect – ensuring that Tolka Park will be retained and redeveloped.
“We afforded the relevant stakeholders time and space to work through the proposal and for the Development Plan process to be completed. However, twelve months on from that DCC statement, there has been no meaningful update from either DCC or Shelbourne F.C and the ownership status of Tolka Park remains in limbo,” the campaign team said in a statement.
“The Save Tolka Park campaign is deeply concerned at this stalemate. We fear that the democratic will demonstrated by the unprecedented 1,400 written submissions, the votes of DCC councillors, and the Development Plan itself – all of which support a bright new feature for the stadium – is not being followed.”
“Ahead of its centenary year in 2024, it’s clear that there is a strong demand for this iconic Dublin landmark to prosper and play its role inspiring future generations,” the statement concluded.
Elsewhere on District: Saving Tolka Park: The past, present and possible future of a Dublin institution