Pairc Tailteann. When will we get a new stand? Photo: Martin Costello/

Ladies will have their day in Pairc Tailteann - but when?

Doubts remain about when redevelopment work can start at venue as more funding is sought

Chairman of the Meath GAA Co Board Jason Plunkett says the camogie and ladies football senior county finals will be held in Pairc Tailteann this year - if the Brews Hill venue is available.

The staging of the games, however, could depend on what condition the county ground will be in as the hope is that redevelopment work will get underway later this year - although it's far from certain yet when that work will actually start.

"If the stand is closed we don't know if it will be feasible to stage the finals but if it's still open we will be looking to play the games there," chairman said.

There has been much talk in recent times about work starting on the re-development of Pairc Tailteann but some big issues remain to be sorted out. While the project will almost certainly happen there is no certain timeframe as yet.

The Co Board continues to have meetings every week with the architects involved in the redevelopment.

However big a question mark hangs over WHEN work might start at Pairc Tailteann, despite supporters' expectations and deep-rooted hopes that they will get a new stand ASAP.

"We can't confirm anything because we still don't know," added Plunkett. "We haven't got permission to go ahead to tender yet.

"We are working away on the design process of Pairc Tailteann, we present our finished designs to Croke Park and Croke Park then give us permission to go to tender for different parts of the project," he added.

"The next part of the project we would be looking to go to tender would be the pre-cast tender, the super-structure of the stand. Then we will be going to tender than for the main contractor, as in the builder who puts it together.

"We have to have our finances in place before we can start the project. We want the project to be financially viable.

"Everything we do has to be passed at a higher level. At the minute we are involved in the design process working with our design team.

"We bring the design to national infrastructure and national finance then we get permission to go to the next level whenever we satisfy Croke Park that we're ready to go to the next level, and when they're satisfied that we are ready.

"We can't go any further than we are allowed to go and that's nationally, every county is in the same boat.

"We just have to be very prudent in what we do. We would hope that construction (of the new stand) will be an 18-month project."

The Meath Co Board have, the chairman added, €2.8 available for the development from the so-called, controversial Immigrant Investment Programme (IIP) but they would be seeking about another €6 million.

"We can only go for what's there. We're hopeful of getting that, it's been all passed, it's being processed it's just a matter of getting it over the line," he said.

"We would require more funding in from that fund to allow us to start. At the moment we have our €8.2 million from the Government, we have a commitment from Croke Park of €1.6 million then Leinster will contribute €800,000.

"At the moment we still wouldn't be financially ready because we have to still look for bridging, so we might have to wait until we get some more money from that investment scheme before we could start."

So the project to rebuild Pairc Tailteann may not start in 2024 after all?

"It may not we don't really know at the moment to be honest."

The realistic, more plausable outlook at the moment is that "all going well" it could be the fourth quarter before works get underway.


The Co Board chairman is also closely involved in the process of integrating the Camogie Association and the LGFA into the GAA.

He's a big supporter of all three organisations operating under one roof and he sees the staging of camogie and ladies football finals at the county ground as a part of all that.

"Integration has to start somewhere. I don't know what way integration will work but staging the county finals at Pairc Tailteann is certainly a start."

However he warns there will be a consequence of staging those finals - and not everyone will like it.

"Somebody is going to suffer, because we're either going to lose some final in there (in Pairc Tailteann) , something. Somebody has to take the hit somewhere down the line.

The Clonard clubman is on a working group for the integration of facilities looking at the logistics of the camogie and ladies football organisations joining the GAA and what that would mean in terms of the availability of grounds and so on.

The year 2027 has been picked out for integration to finally take effect but it remains to be seen if that can actually happen.

Plunkett would have preferred if the Camogie and the LGFA had joined forces first before being incorporated into the GAA.

"I think it would thought the two ladies associations joining up first would have been a bigger step, to see could they join up, I don't think the next step would have been as big.

"The reality is the big problems over the last few years have come from fixtures such as what happened Na Fianna last year when they had to play camogie and ladies football games the same weekend at times.

"That highlighted the issue but the GAA has nothing to do with that, it's their planning, their fixtures. It had nothing to do with Meath, Leinster or Croke Park."

If integration takes place the Co Board chairman believes funding "wouldn't be sustainable with the currant model." Instead the Government would have to step in.

"The Government are pushing integration but really finance would have to come from a Government fund or a national fund to allow integration to happen because facilities will have to be looked at.

"If we're all equal as is meant to be, then everyone has the same access to everything and funding is going to huge. You're probably talking about clubs trying to buy extra land to facilitate pitches.

"At the minute camogie and ladies football fixtures are not aligned. If they were to be aligned you could have camogie one week and ladies football the next week, the same way we do hurling and football in the championships.

"Is there enough weeks in the year for that? Are there enough pitches? Are there enough referees? These are the things that will need to be addressed. I just think the big step would have been the camogie and the ladies football associations joining up first and dealing with these issues.

"Integration will happen but when it will happen is probably the bigger thing. "

A question mark also remains over redevelopment of Pairc Tailteann and when that will take place. Questons. Questions.

Meath Co Board chairman Jason Plunkett. Photo: David Mullen/ Photo by David Mullen