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Frustration at six-year delay to planned pitch for St James’ GAA Club


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Frustration at six-year delay to planned pitch for St James’ GAA Club Frustration at six-year delay to planned pitch for St James’ GAA Club

Ongoing delays to the progression of a new all-weather pitch for St. James GAA Club are causing ‘huge frustration’ on the city’s East side.

The senior football club, which serves the Renmore, Mervue, Ballybane, Ballybrit and Doughiska catchment, has waited over six years since it first got State funding for a new facility that has not been progressed.

At the latest City Council meeting, Cllr Declan McDonnell (Ind) said members of St James’ committee had contacted him to vent frustration at the slow progress on the plans.

He said some €148,000 had been allocated by Government in two Sports Capital Grants schemes.

Some €24,000 had been granted in 2018 and the rest was announced in 2020, and yet the pitch plan hadn’t yet gone to detailed design stage.

He rejected a claim by Director of Services, Patrick Greene that the St James’ club was pleased with the progress being made, following a meeting with the Council and club in August.

“They’re not happy,” insisted Cllr McDonnell, who called for more urgency.

Mr Greene assured the meeting that tenders for detailed design would issue in the first quarter of 2024 but Cllr McDonnell said the club wanted it faster, in November or December.

Mr Greene said the total cost of the project would be as much as €600,000 and when this was disputed by Cllr McDonnell, the director insisted that it could be even more.

Mr Greene said FAI sources had indicated that a project like that could cost up to €800,000.

Cllr Terry O’Flaherty (Ind) said she had met senior people in the club who are “very frustrated” with the delay, and Cllr Alan Cheevers (FF) said the project should have been progressed sooner.

Mr Greene said currently there was no deadline to spend the money already allocated, but Government policy could change.

A motion that would allow clubs to take longer leases on pitches, allowing them to apply for their own funding was debated briefly.

Cllr Peter Keane (FF), a solicitor, said there was no legal impediment that would prohibit leasing arrangements, so long as the Council put a charge on the land.

The motion was left on the agenda to be debated again.

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