Courts Service paid GAA €1m for use of Croke Park in 2021

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Courts Service Paid Gaa €1M For Use Of Croke Park In 2021 Courts Service Paid Gaa €1M For Use Of Croke Park In 2021
According to a spokesman for the Courts Service, the weekly rent paid by the Courts Service to the GAA Croke Park firm, Brindare Ltd for the use of Croke Park from April 1st to December 22nd last was €31,750. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo
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Gordon Deegan

The Courts Service paid the GAA just over €1m to stage criminal trials and other cases at Croke Park in 2021.

Since the start of last year, the Court Service used the Croke Park venue to host three court sittings daily and the rental bill to the Courts Service for 2021 was €1.037m.

The €1.037m payout to the GAA goes some way to make up for the association’s plunging gate receipts during Covid-19 - gate receipts last year totalled €11.7m compared to a pre-Covid-19 2019 total of €36.12m.

According to the Courts Service, it spent an additional €360,000 on non-rental variable costs relating to using Croke Park, including security, and other set up costs.

According to a spokesman for the Courts Service, the weekly rent paid by the Courts Service to the GAA Croke Park firm, Brindare Ltd for the use of Croke Park from April 1st to December 22nd last was €31,750.

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The spokesman said that the €31,750 was a discount on the weekly rent of €35,562 from January 4th to March 31st last.

The spokesman said that as the Courts Service now requires less facilities at Croke Park, the weekly rent for 2022 has been reduced to €22,250.

The spokesman said that at the discounted rate for 2021, “with three courts in operation for most of the time, this amounted to €2,116 daily rental cost for each courtroom and the use of the extensive facilities needed around the venue”.

Munster child abuse trial

At times the Courts Service organised a fourth court at Croke Park in 2021.

The spokesman said: “The cost, given the extent of the facilities available, was very favourable when compared to the approximately twenty other venues we enquire about renting: the facilities in Croke Park offered and proved to be our best use of monies, and the most suitable for our needs."

He said: “In effect we had exclusive use of the entirety of the Hogan Stand / conference facilities for the days we used them.

“When courts could not be held when Covid Level Five restrictions were operational during various periods, the GAA did not charge us, as we had this written into our agreement.”

One of the trials held at Croke Park last year was the Munster child abuse trial where five family members accused of sexually abusing small children were found guilty by a jury at the Central Criminal Court after a 10-week trial.

In a separate trial, a jury at the Central Criminal Court at Croke Park after a four-week trial last December found former soldier, Niall Kennedy (31) of Standhouse Lawns, Newbridge, Co Kildare guilty of 12 counts of rape on 11 different occasions in August 2017.

Mr Kennedy was jailed for 10 years in February after being convicted of “a cynical and cold campaign of rape” against a woman.

The Courts Service spokesman said that the number of Central Criminal Court cases held in Croke Park was 27.

In addition, Croke Park has hosted 20 circuit criminal court jury trials while there were also High Court civil trials heard there.

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