Pádraig Delargy: "The recent success of GAA clubs across the city has inspired a new generation of Gaels in Derry."
Sinn Féin MLA Pádraig Delargy has called for Gaelic Games provision to be implemented at all 3G pitches in line with recommendations from the Council’s pitch strategy.
Following on from a recent meeting with Council Officials, Mr Delargy called for the Council to implement its own strategy to provide provision to support and promote Gaelic Games across the city.
He cited the recent success of Derry's GAA clubs as inspiring new Gaels to take up Gaelic Games and insisted that the Council give them every opportunity to one day hit the same heights as today's star players.
Mr Delargy said: “The recent success of GAA clubs across the city has inspired a new generation of Gaels in Derry.
“The success of Steelstown Brian Ógs Senior Mens and Ladies teams, Seán Dolans and Na Magha highlights not only the growth of Gaelic Games in all areas of the city but also the diversity of disciplines.
“Now is the time to build on that success. It’s time to make sure that first class facilities are in place right across our city, and to make sure that all our children have the opportunity to play Gaelic Games.
“We need to see facilities put in place to allow training throughout the year. At the minute, many clubs are forced into finding indoor or floodlit venues throughout the winter and much underage training can’t take place.
“I am confident that the Council and Council officers are committed to make this happen. We look forward to working with them to see the continued growth of Gaelic Games in Derry.
“It is important to note that this does not exclude other sports. All pitches should be versatile and allow for a range of sports. GAA provision will enhance existing facilities and boost the physical and mental health of children throughout Derry.”
In response, a spokesperson for Derry City and Strabane District Council said the Council's Playing Pitch Strategy highlights any deficits in provision across sporting codes and that the strategy continues to shape Council's future pitch development plan.
With regards to Gaelic Games, the spokesperson said it is one of the sports in which Council has begun to address the deficit in provision across the council area.
The Council spokesperson added: “A number of projects have been undertaken in recent years with regards to this work, including the development of a full size 3G GAA pitch at Melvin Sports Complex; the development of GAA playing and changing facilities at Corrody Road in Derry at a cost of over £1 million; the installation of ball catchers at Leafair 3G; and extensive works to allow Gaelic training and matches to take place at Spamount in Strabane.
“Council Multi-Use Game Areas (MUGAs) across the district are also multi-sport facilities, and that Council have also secured £6.4 million from the Levelling Up Fund for the Derg Active Project which will include upgraded pitches at Mitchell Park in Castlederg for use by local GAA teams.
“Council Officers are working closely with the Derry County Board and Ulster Council of the GAA in assisting with the roll out of their GAA Strategy for the City, and this includes both facility development and programming initiatives.”
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