Dun­dalk star backs club in bat­tle to save pitches

Hun­dreds out to sup­port fight against so­cial hous­ing on site

Irish Independent - - News | Housing - Ryan Nu­gent

DUN­DALK star Brian Gart­land has ral­lied be­hind a south Dublin foot­ball club as they look to save their pitches from be­ing taken for a so­cial hous­ing de­vel­op­ment.

The dou­ble-win­ning de­fender spoke at a meet­ing of more than 400 lo­cals who turned out to sup­port Knock­lyon United at a meet­ing on Thurs­day night.

Club of­fi­cials say that up to 500 chil­dren be­tween the ages of seven and 11 use the pitches ev­ery week­end.

The club has more than 700 chil­dren play­ing in to­tal and fear that if the pro­posal goes ahead they face clos­ing down en­tirely.

A South Dublin County Coun­cil (SDCC) de­vel­op­ment pro­posal looks to build 42 so­cial hous­ing units where the club’s pitches are lo­cated in Bal­ly­cullen Park.

“It’s a sad state that it has come all this way,” Gart­land said of the pro­posal to de­velop in the park.

“I wouldn’t have had the op­por­tu­nity to lit­er­ally live out a dream for the last few years if it hadn’t have been for Knock­lyon United when I was a kid and the same goes with [Dun­dalk player] Dane Massey, he started with the club.”

Ad­dress­ing the coun­cil­lors present, Gart­land said “you’re lit­er­ally tak­ing chil­dren’s fun away...if you take the pitches away”.

The fight to save the pitches has seen Fine Gael TD Colm Bro­phy back the club – de­spite the pres­sure on the Fine Gaelled gov­ern­ment to tackle the hous­ing cri­sis and build much needed homes.

He said there is enough land else­where to build homes.

Fianna Fáil TD John La­hart told the meet­ing he also sup­ported the club.

How­ever, Sinn Féin TD Sean Crowe was heck­led by the crowd when he said he sup­ported so­cial hous­ing.

He said that when he was a coun­cil­lor he never voted against so­cial hous­ing, but in­sisted there was no party line on this among the coun­cil.

“Would I make a de­ci­sion on this, I prob­a­bly would yeah. I prob­a­bly would vote in favour of so­cial hous­ing,” he added.

It’s ex­pected that the de­ci­sion for the de­vel­op­ment will come down to a vote among the 40 SDCC coun­cil­lors.

When asked about the de­vel­op­ment, SDCC said: “The pro­posal ...is at a pre­lim­i­nary stage and is sub­ject to more de­tailed as­sess­ment and draft­ing of fi­nal plans.

“Lo­cal Elected Mem­bers will be in­formed in ad­vance of a con­sul­ta­tion process com­menc­ing for the pro­posal.

“The site is one of 27 sites across the County that were con­sid­ered for the cur­rent so­cial hous­ing de­vel­op­ment pro­gramme in South Dublin,” he added.

Home work: Kayleigh Green, Irina Bog­dan, Oc­ta­vian Bog­dan, Jor­dan Leonard and Calum Hughes look at the book from Fo­cus Ire­land. Photo: Leon Farrell

PHOTO: COLIN O’RI­OR­DAN

Dun­dalk star Brian Gart­land at the Save Knock­lyon United Foot­ball Club meet­ing with club chair­man Donal Scully and Dun­dalk United’s and Dave Massey.

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