Dáil Éireann - Volume 620 - 31 May, 2006
Written Answers. - Sports Grounds.
Ms Shortall Ms Shortall
Ms Shortall asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism if he will expand on his recent comments at the GAA annual congress in Killarney that the organisation must be prudent in regard to offers for its land from property developers; his views on whether this represents a threat to the role of many GAA clubs in local communities; his further views on the attractive economic benefits of such offers for local organisations; the efforts he has made to assist GAA clubs in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21030/06]
Mr. Hogan Mr. Hogan
Mr. Hogan asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism his views regarding the growing phenomenon of local sports organisations selling their grounds and moving to peripheral locations in large urban centres; the possible knock on effect that this may have on local communities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21079/06]
Mr. O’Donoghue Mr. O’Donoghue
Mr. O’Donoghue: I propose to take Questions Nos. 39 and 47 together.
I welcome this opportunity to expand on my views regarding offers from developers to purchase and develop sports grounds. Over the years, many sports clubs of all kinds have developed their facilities in very central locations which are strategically placed at the heart of their community. However, in these times of high property prices there is little doubt that clubs of all types are increasingly being tempted to put their current sites on the market for large amounts of money with a view to relocating to more peripheral sites that are nearer the outskirts of the city, town or village in which they are based.
On the surface, this can seem to offer significant advantages to these clubs, who may have expanded their membership to such an extent that they no longer have enough space to further develop their facilities on their existing site. Clubs can also benefit from a once-off financial windfall which can seem very attractive and can provide them with the necessary funding to help further develop their facilities, such as more playing space, better training facilities, new and bigger sports halls, clubhouses, improved parking facilities etc.
 However, I am strongly of the view that such clubs must not forget the central role that they have traditionally played in their local communities. They are of vital importance to the social fabric of those communities to which they are inextricably bound. It is doubtful whether they could continue to play this role to the same extent if they opt to move to peripheral locations. Gaelic games, in particular, define us as a people and it is of immense importance that the GAA continue to play their games and be centrally involved in their community.
I believe that sports clubs have a duty to balance their own interests with the interests of the community from which they draw their membership and with which they have such close ties. In considering any offers for their land or sites from developers, therefore, clubs should only consider moving for the most compelling of reasons.
Question No. 40 answered with Question No. 16.
Question No. 41 answered with Question No. 24.
Question No. 42 answered with Question No. 29.
Dáil Éireann 620 Written Answers. Sports Grounds.