Dalymount demolition and rebuild SCRAPPED to help fund Tolka Park and Richmond Park upgrades

A general view of Dalymount Park

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The planned demolition and rebuild of Dalymount Park into a 6,000 capacity arena is to be scrapped.

Instead, in a major policy reversal, owners Dublin City Council (DCC) will retain the main stand at Bohemians' famous home and construct new stands on the Connacht Street and School End sides of the site.

The less ambitious overhaul of Dalymount will free up DCC money to invest in the upgrade of Tolka Park and Richmond Park.

This latest twist in the ongoing saga surrounding Dalymount comes in tandem with last week's announcement by DCC that it will not now proceed with its intention to rezone Tolka for housing.

DCC is currently in talks with Shelbourne over the sale of Tolka to the club with a potential fee of between €2m and €2.5m involved although the council will have to be satisfied that the club possesses the funds to proceed with the rebuild of the ground.

St Patrick's Athletic are also conducting negotiations with the Council over how both parties can work together to invest heavily in improving Richmond Park in Inchicore.

Unlike Dalymount and Tolka that are owned by DCC, St Pats own Richmond.

But in common with Bohs and Shels, The Saints will require major investment from DCC and central government funds to realise their ambitions for Richmond.

Crucially, DCC's recent internal communications on the future of the three grounds stated that it is now its policy to enhance all three stadia.

The decision means that the major rebuild of Dalymount – last costed at €35m and which included the provision of a new library and community facilities beside Phibsboro Shopping Centre – is now back on the drawing board.

Shelbourne fans

The council now envisages building a new stand at Dalymount with a capacity of between 3,000 and 4,000 on the site of the disused open terracing and current car park with a smaller stand at the School End.

This could bring Dalyer's capacity up to 8,500 although there may not be room to erect a stand at the Shopping Centre End as the community buildings will still be constructed there.

Costing for the revised Dalymount Park is not complete but it could come in at possibly 50 per cent of the previous price tag even though current construction inflation is a concern.

Shels – who had committed to move into Dalymount as co-tenants with Bohs back in 2016 – now wish to remain in Tolka Park and redevelop the near century old ground.

The Drumcondra site will be reduced in size when a slice of the Ballybough End is removed to allow the installation of a cycle way and pedestrian path and bridge between Richmond Road and lands on the other side of the River Tolka that will be developed for housing in the coming years.

However, Shels are confident that they can carry out badly needed refurbishment of the Riverside Stand and disused Drumcondra End Stand to boost capacity to about 7,000.

Long term, the main stand on Richmond Road requires demolition while Shels will also need to include community facilities in order to receive DCC and government cash.

The same applies to St Pats who are now committed to rebuilding Richmond Park having previously produced an ambitious strategy to construct a 12,000 capacity ground on land at the nearby St Michael's Estate.

This plan included a shopping centre and offices on the ground floor with the pitch on the upper deck.

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