GAA Club at Risk from Metro Link

Na Fianna GAA Club is steeped in tradition as one of Dublin’s most successful clubs on and off the pitch.

It has an enviable roll call of members from former Gaelic Players Association CEO Dessie Farrell all the way through to current GAA President John Horan.

They are also well in politically speaking with Minister for Finance Pascal O’Donoghue a regular on the sidelines.

All of that counts for little though, potentially, in the face of the march of progress as the club discovered this week when news broke of the preferred route for the Metrolink, a vital piece of state infrastructure but one which could have serious implications for the club.

Chairman Cormac O’Donnchú took up his role last year. He is the driving force behind Experience Gaelic Games and a long time collaborator with Sport for Business.

Yesterday he issued the following statement through the club:

At a meeting in Mobhi Road on Tuesday night 20th March, members of the Na Fianna Club Executive were advised by representatives from Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) that the construction programme for the proposed Metro Link (formerly known as Metro North and due to commence in 2020), would involve the requisition of the front pitch and both all-weather pitches on Mobhi Road as well as Home Farm soccer pitch. The front pitch and both all-weather pitches as we currently now know them would become a Tunnel Boring Depot for the duration of the Metro Link construction project, with a permanent underground station being situated under Mobhi Road upon completion.

The first contact that the Club had with TII was through a phone call received at approximately 4.30pm on Friday 16th March, bank holiday weekend. This was the first time the Club was alerted that the new Metro Project would have any implication for the Club. TII requested the meeting, mentioned above, where we were informed of the severe impact the proposed project would have on Na Fianna’s home.

The Club is naturally very concerned and alarmed by this news. We are also deeply disappointed by the lack of respect afforded that a decision of this magnitude was advised to CLG Na Fianna, less than 48 hours prior to the formal Government announcement.

The physical impact of this proposal on Na Fianna as we currently understand it will be;

** Loss of main Mobhi road pitch for a minimum of 3 years, potentially 6 or more years
** Loss of both All-Weather pitches for a minimum of 3 years, potentially 6 or more years.
** Significant loss of revenue from clubhouse activities

Though significant, this pales in comparison to the potentially irreparable damage to a generation of young Na Fianna members through having the heart and soul of our Club ripped out. Not to mention the inevitable fall-off in playing numbers among all age groups, through being deprived of suitable training and playing facilities.

The Executive Committee is fully aware that this development has huge implications for CLG Na Fianna and its members. CLG Na Fianna is currently examining the plans in detail, engaging with important stakeholders and exploring a range of possible actions. We would encourage all members to access the website (www.metrolink.ie), view the documents and to inform themselves as much as possible. A Members’ Information evening will be arranged in the coming weeks subject to the full facts of the proposal being examined and a suitable venue sourced, and out of this, a strong unified approach will be adopted. Ní neart go cur le chéile.

The GAA family, including Croke Park and Dublin GAA have committed to full support for Na Fianna and its members.

We have been through tough times together before. From our founding members’ first struggles to establish the Club in the face of overwhelming adversity, from the rebuilding of our clubhouse after its destruction, and the struggles we have overcome to build a state of the art facility, and not only sustain it but have it as the beating heart of the community. We have been through tough times before, we will rise to this challenge and come through this together.

Please be assured that members will be kept up to date on progress and further communications will be issued as appropriate.

In the meantime, normal service continues on Mobhi Road.

Glaine ár gcroí, neart ár ngéag, beart de réir ár mbriathar.

Purity of our hearts, strength of our limbs, action according to our words.

These are the first shots in a battle for the heart and soul of a great club that will run for a long period of time.

With great change inevitably comes great disruption.  The Dublin Port Tunnel from a decade ago gave rise to similar concerns over noise and more.  That emerges only a puck of a ball from Na Fianna and even closer to Whitehall Colmcilles, the home club of Dublin GAA CEO John Costello.

In the coming weeks, Sport for Business will speak with Cormac O’Donnchú to see what the next stage is likely to be in the battle for the future of the club.

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