500 signatures reached
To: The Taoiseach, TD's and Fingal County Council
Save the Tyrrelstown GAA pitch
Protect the Tyrrelstown GAA pitch from being sold by NAMA
Why is this important?
Tyrrelstown GAA is one of six Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) clubs based in Dublin 15, and the youngest, founded in 2008. The club was officially launched in the GAA’s 125th anniversary year, 2009.
When the club launched in 2009 the developer ‘Twinlite developments’ allocated a piece of land for the clubs use to provide training, playing and to host games for the kids/members. In 2012 the club found themselves in a position where they had no playing facilities due to the development of a secondary school on this piece of land. The club got no warning/notice to evacuate this land and had to work extremely hard to locate a new area for its children. We identified a piece of land in front of the local Community Centre and two schools, T.E.T.N.S and St Luke’s. We then approached the developer and succeeded in retrieving a six-month roll-over license on this area.
After securing the area the club approached the local council (Fingal County Council), and asked them to provide funding for the clearing off and development of the area to turn it into proper playing pitches for the club. The Council’s view on the situation was/is they could not provide any funding to the club as we had no long-term hold on the land. The club decided we would fund-raise to develop the area ourselves.
We held many events to raise the money required. Through the hard work of the committee members, generous help, plus donations from the local community we were successful and raised €24,000 to develop the area into proper playing pitches. Today the club, in addition to playing there ourselves, provides the pitches and area at no cost to the local schools so they can hold their weekly PE, sports days, football and hurling games, training and many other events for their girls’ and boys’ teams.
In addition, the club has been very successful at providing a vital social service to our community. Tyrrelstown, as you may know, has both the youngest, and most ethnically diverse population in the entire European Union. Due to it’s rapid growth, bad planning, and serious under-investment in facilities, Tyrrelstown has seen more than it’s fair share of social problems. In particular youth antisocial behaviour. Sadly, a small minority of these youths have, over the last few years gone beyond mere bad behaviour to outright criminality including violent crime.
We cater for, and attract a significant number of children of all ages, skill levels, and from multiple nationalities and religions. We believe it is no exaggeration to say that we have kept many of our most vulnerable youths “on the straight and narrow”, and away from activities that would be harmful to themselves and others. We have also brought a great number of their parents from all backgrounds together in an atmosphere of friendship and mutual respect.
Yet all our hard work, and all of the aforementioned benefits to the community, could potentially be wiped away overnight.
Twinlite Developments, and more particularly the Larkin family, who have benefited financially so well from Tyrrelstown over the last two decades, have through their greed overstretched themselves. This is well known and has been publicly documented through the media over recent years. They have also been helped by the state at the taxpayers expense when this happened.
They gave NAMA all their land around Tyrrelstown, while holding onto all their revenue generating assets such as the commercial buildings in Tyrrelstown centre and houses in Cruise Park which they rented out.
This no doubt benefited them greatly, but has provided no benefits to us as a community. On the contrary their mismanagement of the area has contributed greatly to many of the problems we experience in Tyrrelstown today.
If we lose this ground, it could effectively mean the end of Tyrrelstown GAA Club, and all the services it provides to the community. The facilities that exist are simply not fit for purpose.
The Tyrrelstown Community Centre costs €30 at a discounted rate. But, only four slots a week are available. This is not enough for our teams. And the cost is much too high for a smaller club like ourselves.
We have a new astropitch, but it is not yet open as no one has taken it in charge. Even then we are informed that the cost will be €120 per hour. This also is well out of our budget.
And finally there is no other land left around to have another pitch.
Now we are told that NAMA wishes to sell the ground we have worked on for a commercial centre? In Tyrrelstown Centre we have multiple empty units. In fact some of these units were never used, not even at the height of the so called “Celtic Tiger” boom! And of those units that are in use, many have changed hands multiple times over the last number of years. We must be unique in Ireland in being the only town in which there is no pub, as ours has been closed for years.
How then could more commercial units hope to succeed where the others have failed?
It is a well known and publicly acknowledged fact by all our elected representatives, State bodies, and others, that we have been criminally neglected when it comes to the provision of youth services and investment in the area. That all this takes place in the Taoiseach’s own constituency makes it all the more of a disgrace.
There is however an alternative. Were this land to be put at the disposal of the community, for the benefit of the community, it would represent a great step forward. We at Tyrrelstown GAA are more than prepared to work in partnership with other community organisations, from the Residents Association, to Foróige, to our schools, and to continue making it available for all these groups. Indeed, with security of tenure, we could continue to develop the land further, improve the facilities, all to the benefit of all the community.
We are asking for your help and support in whatever capacity in this endeavour.