Galway abandon plans for training centre


GAA:GAA officials in Galway have decided to abandon an ambitious plan to develop a training centre for their hurlers even though they look like losing over €2.5 million on the deal.

Galway hurling board purchased over 100 acres of land near Athenry at the height of the Celtic Tiger period and had hoped to develop a state-of-the-art training complex worth about €8m.

Planning permission was granted in 2008 for the development at Mountain South close to the new M6 motorway which included six pitches, one of them an all-weather floodlit facility, dressing rooms, gymnasiums, meeting rooms, hurling walls and ancillary facilities.

Galway hurling board paid €2.8m for 102 acres and have since paid €535,000 towards the project, the majority of which was on bank interest.

County board treasurer Bernie O’Connor said that the current debt on the project was €2.7m. With interest, this would mean €3.4m having to be repaid over the next 15 years, with €226,000 having to be found each year to do this. This would equate to each of the 40 clubs in the county paying €5,666 each year for the next 15 years, if the debt was to be serviced this way. He said that they had made a submission to Croke Park, which includes the sale of the land, asking for assistance.

Galway hurling board chairman Joe Byrne said that the debt burden is not something Galway’s hurling community can continue to finance.

“The vision and foresight when purchasing this property was endorsed by the board, but circumstances and the economic situation has changed since then.”