'It was as bad as I've heard it' - Curragh chief vows to fix grandstand screech
Curragh chief executive Pat Keogh has insisted that the screeching noise emanating from the brand new Aga Khan Grandstand can be rectified and will be done so without any further cost to the racecourse.
When the €81 million revamp was officially unveiled on Guineas weekend in 2019, a piercing whistling noise that sounded like a train arriving at a station was particularly evident on the Sunday of the meeting.
It has been a recurring feature in the interim with a southwesterly wind apparently triggering the noise. At an otherwise subdued Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby meeting on Saturday evening, it appeared worse than ever, providing alarming acoustics that were clearly evident on television productions.
The noise persisted on Sunday, and Keogh was adamant that a solution will be found.
Sisk Group was the construction company that undertook the project, while London-based Grimshaw Architects was responsible for the design.
"It's absolutely not as you'd want it and it is disappointing it has taken this long to resolve it, but I'm confident it will be sorted," said Keogh, who took over at the helm of Irish racing's headquarters last July when his predecessor Derek McGrath's contentious tenure was brought to an abrupt halt.
"It is currently being dealt with by the design team and the builders, and we are confident that we will find a solution.
"Sisks are as good as they come. They have been great to work with throughout so we are confident it will get resolved. It varies depending on the direction and strength of the wind and yesterday was as bad as I've heard it."
With €36m of public money already invested in the redevelopment, Keogh was categorical that the fix will not come at further cost to the Curragh or Horse Racing Ireland.
"The builders and the design team, they have got to find a solution," he said. "It's their issue to resolve and they are committed to resolving it. They are looking at all the possibilities to identify exactly what is causing it within the design and we are confident they will resolve. It's their obligation to do so.
"The Curragh has paid for the development and, as you would have with any building project, if there are any issues with the building when it is built it is up to the builder and designer to give you what you paid for. We are very confident that will happen."
Asked if there was a precedent anywhere for them to understand the nature of the problem, which seems to be associated with the wind blowing through perforations in the steel roof, Keogh said: "It is a unique structure. I'm not a developer and all I want is to have this finished, but if it was straightforward they would have dealt with it. If it was an issue that had cropped up before I assume they wouldn't have let it happen again, but I don't know the answer."
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