Sporting Liberties pushes for a multi-purpose sports facility
SPORTS clubs and local residents in the Liberties have come together to petition the council to rezone local land so that a multi-purpose pitch can be developed there.
Local sports clubs, including Liberties FC, have banded together under the Sporting Liberties campaign to secure new facilities.
The campaign has identified land behind St Catherine's Sports Centre in Marrowbone Lane as a prime site for the development of the much needed pitches.
Currently the land is zoned as an employment creation zone but that is likely to change in the upcoming development plan.
The group want to see it zoned as a site for recreation use.
Michael Conlon, CEO of the South Inner City Development Association, told the Herald that improving facilities would have an impact on generations to come.
"From a community perceptive having accessible multipurpose outdoor sports playing fields will reap rewards not just for this generation but for their children and their children's children," he said.
"It has been proven that participation in sporting activity has wide-reaching benefits on mental health, physical health and social connections.
"The people of the Liberties and the surrounding area deserve the same access to these types of facilities as any other citizen in Ireland.
"This is our one chance to have a real impact on the new development plan for the city and for the future generations of people who choose to live and work in the Liberties."
Lord Mayor Criona Ni Dhailigh has backed the campaign because of a lack of facilities in the area.
"It's so important to have adequate space for clubs. The area is traditionally lacking in green space," she told the Herald.
Ms Ni Dhailigh and her council colleague, Labour representative Rebecca Moynihan, have submitted a joint motion to ask council management to include the development of sports facilities as an objective in the new development plan.
It states that "recognising the lack of adequate multi pitch sporting facilities in the Dublin 8 area in particular, we are committed to providing a multi-purpose sports facility for residents of the south west inner city.
"The St Catherine's site is a good site but I'm keen not to tie it to just one location but to see what the local office comes back with when they have examined all sites," Ms Moynihan said.
"We lack good recreational space. There is definitely a need for a space for a number of groups," she added.
A recent public meeting calling for support for the Sporting Liberties campaign was well attended by local residents.
The community is throwing its weight behind the push for more sports facilities.
Local GP John Latham has also penned a letter encouraging that the opportunity to develop the pitch is not missed.
"Such developments are not optional, they are essential for the future health and wellbeing of young people in the area," Dr Latham wrote.
A meeting on the city's draft development plan is due to be held on September 16.