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Saturday 19 August 2017

'Dire need' for playing facilities in inner-city, says GAA club

Young members of St Kevin’s Hurling and Camogie club are campaigning for a new pitch (Eoghan Redmond)
Young members of St Kevin’s Hurling and Camogie club are campaigning for a new pitch (Eoghan Redmond)

A Dublin sports club has hit out at the lack of green space and playing facilities for inner-city residents.

St Kevin's Hurling and Camogie Club in Dublin 8 is hoping to put pressure on the council and developers to hand over land for the development of playing pitches.

The club currently trains in Dolphin's Barn, and there are a number of schools in the area that also do not have access to green space.

Mary Gallagher, a member of the facilities committee in St Kevin's, said there are three sites in the area which could be used for a GAA pitch.

The old John Player factory site, where Red Rock is currently filmed; the adjacent old Bailey Gibson site; and a disused former pitch near St Teresa's have enough room for the community facility, said Ms Gallagher.

Campaign

"We started looking for facilities for St Kevin's initially, but when we saw the dire need for facilities in the area our campaign became about a wider social issue," she said.

"We've been campaigning for a full-sized GAA pitch as a starting point for all other sports."

Dublin 8 is 84pc below the recommended level of green space, and Dublin City Council (DCC) has drawn up a Greening Strategy for the Liberties area to address this, but St Kevin's wants to see a commitment for a full-sized playing field.

At a recent public meeting, the Dublin GAA board weighed in behind the club's campaign.

"Promoting the GAA in inner-city areas poses a huge problem for clubs that is not experienced by any operating outside the canals due to the lack of space," said board chairman John Costello.

The council said a new public park proposed for the area will provide "a diverse range of recreational and sporting facilities", but was unable to provide details.

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