2024 target for Finn Harps Stadium move – Highland Radio

Following the final stage of consultation on the Donegal Community Stadium which will be Finn Harps’ new home at Stranolar, the club now have a clear timetable as to when the Finn Park move will take place.

The proposed stadium will have a capacity of 6,130 including 3,300 seats along the two touchlines and will take around 9 months to build while the ground will need 10 months to mature.

All construction work must be completed by September 2023, as the land must be laid by then.

Everything is fine The harps should play in the new room no earlier than summer 2024.

The club will also undertake significant fundraising efforts in the coming months to contribute to the cost of the project.

See the full statement released by Finn Harps this week below.

Proponents will have seen last week that the Dalymount Park project in Dublin needed to be revisited as prices for construction work have rapidly increased from their original plans. Finn Harps also faced this dilemma as we noted last year that construction inflation was going to be a major issue for us. As a result, our stadium sub-group looked at other construction options with a base budget and the desire to deliver a complete modern stadium being the driving factors. We looked at stadiums in Ireland, Europe and the UK that used steel structures as the main building component. We have entered into discussions with the Department of Sport, Donegal County Council and the FAI and thanks to this proactive approach, we are now at a very advanced stage of approving an alternative build. The stadium we are proposing will have a capacity of 6,130 fully covered seats. There will be 3,300 seats along the two touchlines, including 1,930 in the West Stand (current structure) and 1,400 in the East Stand with 2,800 standing on covered terraces (1,400 behind each goal). Since January of this year we have been going directly to the market to check up to date costs and are in direct talks with a number of suppliers regarding the construction of the various elements of the stadium. It will take about 9 months to build and when we lay the ground it will take 10 months to mature. We don’t have a firm start date yet, but we need to lay the pitch no later than September 2023, meaning all work will need to be completed by that date.

We have worked hard over the past four months, so much so that we are now hopeful that the Ministry of Sports will approve the resumption of work in the near future. Although it is not yet complete, we are optimistic that we can finally deliver a stadium that is modern, accessible, atmospheric and of which the whole county can be proud.

The economic benefit and profile this stadium can bring to Donegal should not be underestimated. UEFA organizes a plethora of international competitions at minors level for girls and boys, many of which take place in group stages and are usually regionally based. Ourselves, Derry and Sligo could easily host these matches and as you can imagine most teams, families and supporters would want to stay in Donegal as we have the bed capacity and extremely strong tourist supply. Additionally, the FAI has promised us a number of internationals at juvenile level and as most will be shown on TV across Europe this will give great visibility to the Donegal brand. The stadium will also be made available for international competition for 3rd tier institutions, European junior regional matches and we will participate in other international tournaments as the opportunity arises. We have discussed with the FAI the possibility of making the North West the main regional site in Ireland to host such events. So the focus is now on Donegal being at the center of the action.

Our main aim however is to have a stadium for the people of Donegal, especially the younger generation, and we hope that local clubs will have the opportunity to play there whenever the pitch is free and available. As we develop our women’s and women’s football, it is of the utmost importance that we have appropriate facilities of the highest standard. Donegal Community Stadium will become our new home with the senior women’s team when they are up and running and playing there as well. In addition, the club plans to have three more grounds in the Twin Town area, Finn Park, a new ground in Water Lane and another ground which we are currently working to secure.

€1m has already been spent on the project, with the next phase costing €5.5m including the construction of the stadium, the installation of floodlights and the laying of the pitch. A further €1.5 million will be needed later to fully complete the project, which includes toilet blocks, hard surfaces, landscaping, etc. This will bring the total cost to around €8m, which is no small feat as the expected cost 15 months ago from the initial plans was €11.5m. A lot of work has been done but a huge task awaits us. The club will be undertaking major fundraising efforts in the near future and have spoken to businesses about naming rights options and have planned events in Dublin and London. We will be asking everyone in the county and beyond to support these initiatives when they are announced.