THE GAA in Kerry has given its full backing to a proposal to develop a state-of-the-art Centre of Cultural and Sporting Celebration on the grounds of Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney.
A statement has been issued confirming that the East Kerry Board, the Kerry County Board and the Fitzgerald Stadium committee “will not be found wanting” when it comes to supporting the project.
It has been over 10 years since plans were first submitted to government agencies but, since the recession hit, the idea had been shelved.
The initial estimated cost of the development was €3.5 million but the committee spearheading the project was told that it needed to be brought up to €5 million to qualify for funding under Fáilte Ireland’s iconic status criteria and the plans were upgraded.
Prior to the economic crash, planning permission had been secured, a free site was made available at the stadium, there was onsite parking for tour buses and cars, easy access would be provided from Lewis Road and a commitment for a €0.5 million bridging loan was received from Croke Park.
Dusting down the proposal last month, Kerry County Council member and former Kerry footballer, Michael Gleeson, slated Fáilte Ireland for not responding to a delegation that had travelled to Dublin a number of years ago to put forward the case for the exciting project.
“The gentleman from Fáilte Ireland said he would assess the proposal and get back to us but we never heard anything again. The public servant took flight and ran and he left us high and dry,” Cllr Gleeson said.
On his suggestion, the proposals have now been reactivated and Killarney Municipal District Council is to again ask Fáilte Ireland to financially support a Centre of Cultural and Sporting Celebration in Killarney.
In a statement issued to KillarneyToday.com, the East Kerry Board said it would join the county board and the stadium committee in supporting and endorsing the proposed development.
“The all-weather amenity would be major boost to Killarney and Kerry. The project is ready with everything in place except the necessary finance to get it over the line,” the board said.
“It would be a benefit to all walks of life as it would feature all aspects of Kerry sport and culture.”
EKB press officer, Michael O’Mahony, said Fitzgerald Stadium is the acknowledged home of Kerry football, ladies’ football, hurling and camogie and this major project would make it more attractive for all.
He said it would be a big attraction, not just on the days of big matches, but for school tours and to promote the musical culture of Sliabh Luachra and Scór competitions.
The centre could play host to a collection of memorabilia such as jerseys, boots, old medals and match programmes, the PRO stated.
“I’m glad that there are efforts underway to resurrect the ambitious plans and l call on the Minister for Sport, Catherine Martin, and Fáilte Ireland to provided funding for this project,” Mr O’Mahony added.
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