Dublin GAA club seeks halt to eviction from Nama-controlled pitch

Tyrrelstown GAA club say they have nowhere else to go and cannot afford land

Representatives from Tyrrelstown GAA club and receivers acting on behalf of Nama will meet on Thursday evening to discuss the future of the club's only playing pitch, which is likely to be be sold to developers.

The club in west Dublin acquired the pitch on a temporary basis from a previous developer in 2009 and have spent €24,000 making it suitable for their use.

The loans attached by lands, which were owned by the developer Twinlite, have been acquired by Nama which has appointed the receiver Mazars.

Tyrrelstown GAA club are hoping to retain the use of the pitch on a temporary basis until they find a suitable alternative, but, at present, say there are no other options open for them.

Local TD Jack Chambers has called for the land to be handed over by Nama to the club . He accused the State agency of taking a "pure capitalist approach" to the matter.

He said one arm of the State was supporting sports grants while another wasdriving a club out of its only pitch. “It’s totally unacceptable,” he said.

Nama said in a statement it would not be possible for the club to stay on the site in Tyrrelstown Way on a long-term basis.

It added: “An informal agreement has been in place for some time to allow the club to use the property free of charge on a temporary basis until the receiver determines the ultimate strategy for the property concerned.

“The receiver sought to regularise the existing informal arrangement by way of a formal licence agreement in October 2017 but the club has not signed this agreement, despite repeated requests to do so.”

Nama pointed out the developer had made 60 acres available to Fingal County Council for local amenities and schools.

“It is the responsibility of the council to develop playing fields within this area in line with its original arrangement with the land owner,” the agency said.

The land where Tyrrelstown GAA are currenly based is located in the centre of what is one of Ireland’s newest and fastest growing suburbs.

Club chairman Johnny Aherne said the land on which their only GAA pitch is situated is worth €3.5 million and they cannot afford to buy it if Mazars opts to sell it.

He said the land was offered to them on a rolling one month basis with 30 days notice to quit. The club refused to sign it having sought legal advice.

They said signing the agreement would leave them open to be expelled at short notice from the pitch.

At present the club has nowhere else to go as two GAA pitches being developed by Fingal County Council locally will not be ready until May 2019 and will be available only for matches and not training.

Mr Aherne said the club had identified an alternative site adjacent to their current GAA pitch which would be big enough for a juvenile pitch. It too is Nama-controlled.

“We want our own ground to put in proper facilities for the children. That’s our ultimate goal,” he said.

Mr Chambers said Taoiseach Leo Varadkar should intervene in a matter which is in his constituency.

Mr Chambers said the Programme for Government gave Nama a brief to fund investment in infrastructure which will include such facilities.

He said: “As the Taoiseach will be aware, Tyrrelstown has experienced a significant deficit in investment over the past number of years.

“This GAA club, like many others across the city, has been a pillar of the local community for the past decade.

“Coaches, players and all those associated with the club are deeply worried by the prospect of losing its only playing pitch which will leave players with nowhere to train or compete.

“The Taoiseach must lend his full support to local sports clubs and put the needs of our community ahead of any corporate and capitalist consideration.”

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times