Approval sought for floodlights at Semple Stadium

Planning permission has been sought for the installation of floodlights at Semple Stadium in Thurles, Co Tipperary.

Planning permission has been sought for the installation of floodlights at Semple Stadium in Thurles, Co Tipperary.

Permission is being sought by the Semple Stadium Sportsfield Society from Thurles Town Council for the next phase of the stadium's redevelopment.

The society wants to erect stadium floodlighting, associated generators, landscaping works and sitewide pedestrian lighting at a cost in the region of €1.5 million.

The application to erect floodlighting comes just over a year after the Tipperary County Board announced an €18 million three-year stadium redevelopment plan. The project aims to boost capacity to more than 55,000.

Phase one of the scheme, at a cost of €5.5 million, has already seen the redevelopment of the Kinane Stand (old stand), which involved its complete refurbishment, providing spectator facilities and changing rooms, outlets for concession and hot food sales at the rear of the stand.

The turnstiles have been upgraded to incorporate bar code readers facilitating automatic access. A themed area at the rear of the stand and its approaches has been created, with flags, banners and graphics to capture the stadium's history and tradition.

Phase two of the scheme will include the installation of floodlighting and new seating and a VIP lounge in Ardán Uí Riain (new stand) as well as improved irrigation systems. Work is also to be undertaken to improve spectator facilities at the Killinan and town-end terraces.

When completed, capacity at the ground will be increased by about 3,000.

Phase two of the stadium plan is being financed by Croke Park, the Munster Council, the National Lottery and the stadium's own resources.

Chairman of Semple Stadium management committee, Con Hogan said the latest application was part of the ongoing process of the redevelopment.

"We hope to have the floodlighting installed by May of next year in time for the winter of 2008," Mr Hogan said. "The cost of installing the floodlighting will be in the region of €1.5 million and is part of the €12.5 million phase two project."

Semple Stadium was officially named as the GAA's number 2 stadium behind Croke Park last year. The centenary All-Ireland hurling final between Cork and Offaly was held there in 1984.

The planning application regarding the provision of floodlighting may be inspected or purchased at the offices of the planning authority, Slievenamon Road, Thurles.