Main pic: The stalled Finn Harps stadium project in Stranorlar.
A Fianna Fáil TD has today stated that the ‘complicated’ government deal for the new Finn Harps’ stadium is currently with the State Solicitor’s office.
Deputy Thomas Byrne, Junior Minister for Sport, was speaking earlier in the Dáil during a Labour motion on investment in football.
He said his department gave approval for a key stage of the ‘complicated’ Finn Harps stadium on June 8. He gave no further details.
Last month, the Department of Sport said it was ready to sign off on the new stadium project.
Construction on the long-awaited Donegal Community Stadium is due for completion in 2024.
The stadium in Stranorlar is expected to come in at a total cost of €8M after plans were revised to cut costs last year.
Meanwhile Deputy Thomas Pringle, who was also present during today’s motion, called for greater investment into Donegal soccer clubs, particularly his local St Catherine’s in Killybegs.
While welcoming confirmation that funding for the new Finn Harps stadium has been awarded, he said there was only one soccer pitch in the south west of the county.
“We need to address the lack of pitches and all-weather pitches. Clubs like St Catherine’s in Killybegs provide football for boys and girls of all ages, from Glencolmcille to Portnoo,” Deputy Pringle said.
“And indeed at our own club, St. Catherine’s, constantly the pitch has to be closed for repairs, which means that they are looking for alternative pitches for the young people and it’s just not acceptable at this stage.”
Deputy Pringle said there has been underinvestment into soccer in this country and this, coupled with poor leadership, have made it hard for clubs and players to develop.
“Despite this, we have managed to produce many brilliant soccer players, such as Seimi Coleman from my own hometown of Killybegs.”
“Irish player Amber Barrett, another fantastic footballer from Donegal, believes that an important issue to address is the drop-off of interest in sport among teenage girls. We need to ensure full media coverage of women’s games and I would hope that the Women’s World Cup will be covered to the same extent as the men’s.”
Deputy Pringle said one issue he feels has been overlooked is that of disability access.
“I strongly believe that we should be doing all we can to make football and other sports far more accessible for the disabled community. At the moment, facilities and pitches are not suitable for those with disabilities and this is a real shame,” he said.
“From looking at the ’Football for All’ clubs map, most of the midlands and north west soccer clubs are left out of this programme. There are only two clubs in Donegal who facilitate ‘Football for All’ – Buncrana Hearts and Letterkenny Rovers “which is over 70 kilometres away from Killybegs. This leaves out the entire disability community in south west Donegal.”Tags: