There are a good few different funding pots @bigp and it’s not easy to explain - unless you’re a gobshite from Kildare and then it’s explained thus … Dublin get all the money.
But away from the usual headline making elements of John Costello’s report there were a few very interesting pieces on land, facilities, grants etc. Here’s a couple of them.
"As we continue, thankfully, to move out of recession, there is an increased and renewed
awareness of the need to maximise the use of our resources, which are often limited. We need
to ensure that we get the best possible outcomes from the development of these resources,
from both a practical and capital spending point of view.
This is most apposite in Dublin, where costs are higher than other areas and where land and
development capacity is hugely restricted both in terms of availability and price. The fact of
the matter is that resources in the capital are finite.
Many clubs in established areas in our suburbs are flourishing but the increased numbers
bring problems – albeit welcome ones – in terms of playing space, facilities etc. It is rare for
any land or space to become available at all and, when it does, it is often at a hugely
I have spoken before of the real worth of social capital. An asset can be used for the public
good and the benefit in the longer-term can far outweigh any short-term monetary gain for
As NAMA continues to wind down, perhaps it would be an idea to sit down and review what
remains in their portfolio. There could be huge benefit in the Government liaising with the
GAA and other sporting organisations in drawing up an inventory of potentially available
assets and then identifying where the critical shortfall of facilities are in the country.
A short to medium-term plan could then be devised to address the issue, with a partnership
approach to strategically develop the assets. The potential result here would be a win-win in
Sports organisations would get increased facilities, taxpayers’ money would be used for
social good and the spin-off of healthy activity etc. would be of benefit to the local
“Those who beat Dublin with the ‘biggest population’ stick did it again last week when the
grants were announced and the largest allocations came to the capital – for all sports. Indeed
looking at the breadth of sports covered in the grant allocations, it reinforces for me the
massive competition that Dublin GAA faces from other sports. But I congratulate these
sports organisations on their successful applications because, as a person with lifelong
involvement in sport in this city, I know that if Dublin alone got the full €56 million
allocation it would still not be enough for the sporting needs of juveniles alone in this city.
There are a number of factors which are unique to Dublin clubs and sporting organisations
but let’s look at this from a GAA perspective. I am aware that land cannot be bought from
these grants but, as mentioned elsewhere in this report, the cost and (lack of) availability of
land is a critical factor in this county and this has a knock-on impact across the finances and
facilities of every single club.
At the beginning of this month I attended the launch of the Cuala Strategic Plan 2018 – 2022
where the Cuala chairman, Adrian Dunne, pointed out that there is only enough suitable land
left in the Dun Laoghaire Rathdown area for eight more pitches in the next 100 years. Those
eight pitches are to cover all local sports’ needs. Currently, there are 50 clubs in the area
between Gaelic games, rugby and soccer. No other county faces this kind of vista. Cuala’s
own training bill runs to tens of thousands on rent because of the acute shortage of space –
and this is just to train.
Most rural clubs are well established over decades and have pitches and facilities long since
in place in their parishes. There is nothing like the pressure of lack of land which is prevalent
in Dublin. The bigger Dublin projects are mostly for all-weather surfaces. This is not a
luxury but a necessity. The pressure on the existing pitches is so great that the only solution
is all-weather surfaces that can be in constant use for both training and playing.
I also note that much of the grant-aid outside of Dublin is for upgrading of pitches and
improvements to existing facilities, lights, fences etc. There are also larger capital projects
such as building dressing rooms or extending clubhouses. Again, it has to be noted that the
cost of similar capital projects in Dublin would be much greater than elsewhere. What would
cost €100,000 in Dublin might be realised for a little more than half of that in rural Ireland. A
euro invested by the Government in Dublin is better value due to the large population and the
realistic opportunity to increase participation.
So I think it is wonderful to see the Government give grant aid of €56 million to Irish sports
organisations. It is even more wonderful to see that 553 Gaelic clubs were allocated almost
€23.5 million. It must also be stated that all these clubs will have to fundraise significantly to
complete their individual projects as the grants only part-fund the developments.
But I would never apologise to anybody for a single cent of grant aid received in this
city. Instead, I would congratulate those who have the vision, who plan, who budget and who
give of their time to ensure that their club is enhanced or improved – or as is often the case -
is assisted in providing the very basic facilities to keep the club going. These people are to be
lauded – they are doers and achievers. They get out on the pitch and hurl rather than sit on
the ditch and carp.”