Shamrock Rovers' rent to increase 140% at Tallaght Stadium – The Hoops agree €240,000 annual deal with local council

The East and South Stands in Tallaght Stadium

The East and South Stands in Tallaght Stadium Credit: Thomas Flinkow (ETPhotos)

Shamrock Rovers have agreed a new 15-year licence with South Dublin County Council (SDCC) for the use of the local authority owned 10,500 capacity stadium.

Following the completion of the fourth stand in Tallaght this season, the council have struck a deal on a new licence with Rovers for the stadium, along with a separate lease for the club shop and office area located in the North Stand.

The deal, which will see the total cost to Rovers rise to close to quarter of a million euro annually, was ratified at last Monday’s full monthly County Council meeting.

Rent review

There is significant increase in Rovers’ rent under this new licence agreement, with the figure set to increase by 140% over the most recent deal. When the Hoops moved into the venue in 2009, they were given just a one year licence at a cost of €10,000.

They have got longer leases and increased rental bills since then, with Rovers paying €70,00 in 2021 and €98,000 was the most recent arrangement. 

For 2024, they will pay €110,00 which will rise to €150,000 next year, before a sum of €190,000 will be paid annually from year 2026 onwards. A separate €50,000 annual rent is payable for the lease on the offices and shop area (with a combined area of 278m2).

However, the club has received a rent-free three month period this year due to the later than envisaged completion of the North Stand. 

There is a review of all the fees set for 2029 and 2034.

Match day access

Within each 12-month period, Rovers are granted access in the UEFA category 4 stadium for 40 match days for their senior men’s and women’s teams as well as underage national league fixtures, with any friendly fixtures to be agreed in advance with SDCC.

The council note that ‘any games promoted by a third party or any games in excess of the agreed 40 shall be subject to prior written approval and will be charged separately’. There is an additional licence fee of €10,000 plus VAT per game outside of the agreed 40.

During the months February to November (inclusive), the agreement notes that the ‘40 licensed games are to be treated first in order of priority when the council considers the staging of or licensing other events of whatever nature at the stadium grounds’. 

As part of the agreement the council are entitled to the use of 52 free of charge seats (16 VIP, 6 west stand, 10 south stand, 10 east stand and 10 north stand), along with two pitch side advertisements.

Stadium history

In 1996 the Hoops announced plans to move to Tallaght with SDCC issuing a lease on the site on Whitestown Way the following year for Rovers to develop the stadium. The club was granted planning permission in April 1997 for a 10,000 capacity stadium with An Bord Pleanála subsequently reducing the planned capacity down to 6,000.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern turned the first sod on the stadium in 2000 with work beginning on the venue in October that year. However, financial difficulties for the club saw the construction grind to a halt in November 2001 with the West Stand partially completed. Builders wouldn’t return to the site for another seven years.

The battle for Tallaght Stadium

When Rovers applied for a planning extension in 2004, it was refused by the council who saw no prospect of work resuming and they repossessed the site in 2005. 

The council proposed to complete the 6,000 capacity stadium themselves with the plan amended by the local councillors initially in December 2005 to modify the stadium to increase the pitch size to accommodate gaelic games.

When they reversed their vote the following February after the Department of Arts, Sports and Tourism noted they would not make funding available for such a modification which would limit the capacity of the stadium to 4,500, it began a two year planning battle in the courts.

In May 2006 Thomas Davis GAA club sought leave to the High Court for a Judicial Review to reverse the council’s decision.

The case was heard in October 2007 and two months later the court ruled in favour of SDCC.

In January 2008 the court refused Thomas Davis permission to appeal to the Supreme Court and the last hurdle for the Hoops in getting to Tallaght was overcome. All this meant that in May 2008, builders returned to the site to complete initially the West Stand.

The new home for the Hoops

Shamrock Rovers played their first game in Tallaght Stadium in March 2009 in front of over 3,000 fans accommodated in the West Stand. Construction began on the East Stand in May that year and for July’s friendly against Real Madrid temporary seating was brought into the stadium.

On the night Cristiano Ronaldo made his debut for Real, 10,915 were in attendance.

The East Stand was completed and opened in August 2009 bringing the permanent capacity at that stage up to 6,000.

In 2011, when Rovers became the first League of Ireland side to play in the Europa League, again temporary seating was erected in Tallaght. This brought the capacity of the stadium during the group stage to 8,500 for the games against Rubin Kazan, PAOK and Tottenham Hotspur.

Following a successful Part 8 planning process, construction of the 2,195 capacity South Stand began in January 2018 and was completed in November that year bringing the capacity up to 8,000.

With the completion this season of the new North Stand, the capacity now is just above the 10,000 original envisaged when the plans for the stadium were unveiled in 1996.