Dundalk Football Club have confirmed that they have concluded the process to resolve all of the long-standing legal problems surrounding the lease of Oriel Park. As a result of this process, Dundalk Football Club have taken full ownership of the lease of Oriel Park and the YDC building.
The press release can be read below:
Since the takeover of the club from Gerry Matthews in August 2012, Dundalk FC have achieved unprecedented levels of success on the pitch. This has been achieved despite the backdrop of a very serious legal dispute that was inherited by the current administration at Dundalk FC.
The new administration fully expected the transfer of the lease of Oriel Park into our name following the takeover. Without ownership of the lease, Dundalk FC were unable to make any improvements to Oriel Park. This includes any upgrade of the pitch. Therefore, a resolution of this issue was vital to both the short and long term future of the club.
The club are very grateful for the support of Des Casey and his family during this process. This has been a very traumatic and stressful time for the Casey family over the past ten years and we appreciate their support during this dispute. Dundalk FC have recognised Des’ and his families contribution to the club over the past 80 years by naming him as our new Honorary President.
We would also like to thank John Delaney and the FAI for their support. The FAI worked closely with Louth County Council. Following legal advice, we decided to resolve this situation ourselves without any outside assistance. However, it must be pointed out that the FAI did take an active interest in this situation and provided a lot of support and advice in order to find a resolution.
Dundalk FC have already been visited by pitch specialists in order to move forward with a new playing surface that we hope will be in place for the start of the 2017 season. We are also undertaking a feasibility study on how we can make best use of the YDC building for the good of our club and community. Everybody at the club is looking forward to the future as we attempt to build on the incredible progress we have made over the past four years.
The resolution of the long-standing legal problems surrounding the lease of Oriel Park plus the debts relating to the YDC Building has been welcomed by all parties who have worked together to find a solution to a problem that threatened the future of Dundalk Football Club.
Dundalk FC would like to note the assistance carried out on behalf of the club by FAI CEO John Delaney and the personal interest he took in helping the club. John has been a constant support in our ongoing discussions with the Louth County Council.
"I am delighted to have worked with Dundalk FC during these exciting times for the club," said Delaney.
"The club has represented the SSE Airtricity League in a manner befitting their 'Champions' status, and they have represented the country in such a positive light that the whole country is proud of them.
“It's also great to see the club represented at international level, and they will have the full support of the all SSE Airtricity League clubs and the FAI in their upcoming UEFA Europa League games.”
Club Chairman and co-owner Paul Brown stated that: “The resolution of this problem will allow us to continue our development plan to keep Dundalk Football Club moving forward in the right direction, both on and off the field. We have come a very long way in a very short time, but we want to ensure the long-term growth of the club and in resolving this problem, we are now able to kick-start the process of applying for government grants and unlocking other additional funding means”.
2016 is the 80th year that Dundalk Football Club have played at Oriel Park since the land was provided to the club by the Casey Family back in 1936. Dundalk FC’s new Honorary President Des Casey said he was “pleased and relieved after such a fractious period that the integrity of the lease on Oriel Park had been restored” and he wished the Directors of the club continued success in their future endeavors.
He also sincerely thanked them for nominating him as Honorary Club President which he considered a great honour and he would do his best to fulfill the role as well as his predecessor and good friend, the late Jim Reilly.