Frustration at shortfall in funding for football pitch

By Aimee Walsh

FRUSTRATION as a shortfall in funding halts local football club’s plans for an all-weather Astro pitch.

Knockmitten FC in Clondalkin developed the concept in 2017 for the 50m x 36m Astro pitch and submitted the estimates to the council for a grant application, which totalled at €168,708.

Knockmitten 01 1

Knockmitten Football Club members Sam Doran, Anna Mulhall, Tony Kennedy, Cillian Murphy, Phil Keogh and Adam Harte on the site for the planned astro pitch

South Dublin County Council’s Community Department allocated €15,000 in funding to match the amount the club had riased themselves with the remaining funds awarded by the Sports Capital Grant.

Chairman of the Astro Committee for Knockmitten FC Tony Kennedy, spoke to The Echo about the project.

“It’s been going on for a number of years now at this stage, since 2017. What we have is we were awarded in the 2017 Sports Capital Grant for €137,000, and we had €15,000 and funding from South Dublin County Council for €15,000, that is what they had part-funded us.

“We got a quote from a number of companies and we got a quote of around €167,000 basically, so that’s what we went in for and passed on the quotes.”

Following the Part 8 approval for the development, detailed design from consultants came back significantly higher at projected costs of €309,355,54 - a difference of €141,648.

“They have told us there’s no more funding coming from them, because what we have is a legacy, so everything is over in the public realm now”, Tony explained.

“As a club, we ourselves are willing to raise as much funds as possible, as much as €30,000 and will be looking to apply for a loan of €50,000, so that’s €70,000 coming from our behalf and we are looking for the council to part fund us, and they are telling us there is nothing.

“There is a grant scheme for up to €50,000 but it is an open competition, everyone applies for it and you see what you get out of it. They’re not guaranteeing anything, and I am not sure what backing we have from them at all.”

In a response to the issue of the Astro pitch raised at a Clondalkin area committee meeting the council responded by saying: “The Council’s recommendation is that the project proceed as per the cost optimal proposal in line with the existing funding available and the recommendation from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, having regard for the following: the significant shortfall in funding in the sum of €141,647 and the lack of available funding to bridge the funding gap, the inability of the club to confirm what additional funding they can provide, the already significant contribution committed by the Community Department, the need to move forward in terms of the ongoing demands on Public Realm staff time and expertise on the project.”

After the shortfall in funding was revealed for the project, the council proposed plans for a smaller ‘cost optimal’ Astro pitch of 15m x 30m which would cost €160,217.

“They said from the money that we have, they are willing to build an Astro that is 15 x 30 so basically half the size, it’s not worth installing and building something like this because it would be a total waste of money,” says Tony.

“It’s a facility that would be too small for its purpose and it would become, again, a place for anti-social behaviour and it won’t be looked after and would be a total waste of money.”

Tony explains that there is a need for the Astro all-weather pitch not just for the sports activities but for the community itself.

“It’s good for the club, for the area and positive for everything going on in the area. We are trying to put a facility in that would help the area and help the kids in the area, it’s something that people in the area could be proud of. There’s a lot to it.”

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