No decision made on seating at Hill 16, officials confirm

by Sylvia Pownall

No planning application to install seating on Croke Park’s iconic Hill 16 has been received by Dublin City Council, officials confirmed last week.

GAA chief John Horan had suggested that social distancing as a result of Covid-19 might be easier to regulate if temporary seating was installed on the terraces.

Mr Horan said in June that if the Government were to give the go-ahead to allow larger numbers to attend matches Croker could “probably hold 21,000” safely. 

But a meeting of Dublin City Council’s central area committee heard last week that no application for seating had been lodged – and none was pending.

Cllr Christy Burke (Ind) said: “Supporters agree that social distancing should be put in place on the Hill but will any proposed seating be removed if and when a vaccine is found for Covid-19?

“The tradition of the Hill with no seating can’t be changed indefinitely and fans would be opposed to that in the long run. It is only fair that GAA management make any up-to-date proposed plans to install seating public. 

“The announcement by the [GAA] President three months ago that seats might be installed on the Hill to allow for social distancing needs addressing as we are now nearly into October.”

The 2020 inter-county season is due to start on October 17 with games at Croke Park the following weekend, though Level 3 restrictions in the capital have thrown the schedule into doubt.

A council spokesperson revealed that following a review of records “the planning department can confirm that no application has been received nor is it aware of any pending application”.

The official added: “In the absence of any information it is unclear whether installing seating on Hill 16 would constitute development or not and if so would it constitute exempted development.”

A GAA spokesman told Dublin Gazette: “The position at present is that the GAA is still finalising the list of stadia required for inter-county fixtures and this will be released in the next week.

“The Association is continuing to monitor this fluid and fast moving situation as the pandemic continues, and our plans will be subject to being in accordance with what the Government and HSE advice and guidance is on sporting facilities and any restrictions on public gatherings at sporting venues.”

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