Shelbourne FC seek to purchase Tolka Park from Dublin council

League of Ireland football club plan to transform it into multi-sport stadium

Shelbourne FC have approached Dublin City Council (DCC) with a proposal to purchase Tolka Park and transform it into a multi-sport stadium.

“DCC has agreed in good faith to examine the proposal in detail and will reconvene meetings with the Shelbourne board when further detail has been provided within the next two weeks,” read the council statement released Friday afternoon.

The “Save Tolka Park” campaign is not involved in discussions between the club and DCC, and currently has no comment to make.

Shels bought the long-term lease on Tolka Park off Home Farm FC in 1989 but the ground was sold on to property developers in 2006 before ending up with the council in 2016.


FAI board member Dick Shakespeare is the assistant chief executive in the council.

“Dublin City Council bought out the legal interests of various parties in both Dalymount and Tolka Park in 2016 as part of its strategic plan to develop a municipal stadium at Dalymount Park to ensure the viability of League of Ireland football on the northside of Dublin,” the DCC statement continued.

‘Significant costs’

“Since acquiring both grounds, significant costs have been incurred by the city council on an annual basis to ensure that both stadiums meet the required League of Ireland stadium certification.

“The city council is willing to examine the proposal. However, it would be based on a cost-recovery model for expenditure incurred by the city council and a firm commitment from Shelbourne that Tolka Park can be redeveloped in a reasonable period and adequate finance is in place. We understand that the proposals will have no financial implications for either the city council or the State.

“DCC would like to reaffirm its commitment to developing a municipal stadium at Dalymount Park. We are continuing to work with all stakeholders including both club, the Government and local community groups to develop a modern municipal stadium.”

Contrary to media reports, Shelbourne are adamant that they have not pulled out of the ground-sharing agreement with Bohemians while Dalymount Park is being redeveloped into a 6,000-capacity arena.

The cost of buying back Tolka Park from the DCC is unclear, but if successful it would rule out the demolition of the Drumcondra venue to build apartments.

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey is The Irish Times' Soccer Correspondent