“These facilities don't come cheap,” elected members of Cavan County Council were warned, as news broke the local authority is working to identify a site to develop a potential multi-million euro integrated sports facility in Cavan Town.
Similar to the Clones Erne East 'Peace Link' Sports Centre, the cost implications of such a facility was commented on by Director of Services Eoin Doyle addressing local councillors at last Monday's monthly meeting. Along with funding, he pointed out a suitably central location is “vital”, while any decisions must be done “in the spirit of cooperative interest” with local stakeholders including sporting clubs. It has emerged that Cavan-Monaghan Education and Training Board (CMETB) is assisting the Council, with suggestions of utilising sections of the former Dun Ui Neill barracks, now an education campus on the Dublin Road.
Another site referenced was land near to Breffni College on the Cootehill Road.
A key part of the Local, Economic and Community Plan (LECP), earlier this year the council worked with CMETB to submit an application for Sports Capital Funding for Phase 1 of a multi-sports facility on property owned by the education body.
According to John Donohoe, senior executive officer at the Community and Enterprise section of the Council, who spoke to The Anglo-Celt after Monday's meeting, he said if the application was successful, the sports facility would be available to sports clubs and the wider community outside of school hours.
He said it, “would be a significant start to the process of providing sporting facilities for all sports in the county, utilising existing infrastructure. Future phases of this development will require significant investment and identifying suitable sources of funding will be critical here.
“We are committed to developing a multi-purpose sports facility for the county as laid out in the LECP but it’s delivery is largely dependent on our ability to source external funding for this development,” Mr Donohoe added.
Details of the proposed complex first emerged during discussions on a motion by Fianna Fáil's Philip Brady highlighting the need to develop a centrally located outdoor sporting facility. But it was council colleague Eugene Greenan (SF) who alluded to ongoing background talks on the project.
Like the cross-border EU funded Peace Link centre in Clones, the aim would be to provide a wide range of top class sport facilities including a sports pavilion, grass pitches, a full IAAF accredited track and field facility, as well as sports surfaces amenable to all sporting codes.
Costing €5.8m and led by Monaghan County Council, the Peace Link centre was completed in 2014, and regularly plays host to a wide range of local and regional sporting events.
The need for enhanced sports and recreation facilities in the county is something the council is acutely aware of, after it was raised during the consultation process which fed into the drafting of the LECP.
It is understood that the Council and CMETB has to date met with a number of clubs and sporting bodies in the county in relation to the proposed integrated sports facility development.
Cllr Brady's motion was further supported by Clifford Kelly and John Paul Feeley (FF), as well as Madeleine Argue (FG), Peter McVitty (FG) and Paddy O'Reilly (FG), the latter of whom sought to have regular, quarterly updates provided to members on any progress made on the development.