Call for Community Games Finals to return to Athlone

Councillors have unanimously voiced their support for attracting the Community Games finals back to Athlone.

The relationship between AIT and Community Games organisers ended in animosity last year in a dispute that saw the finals move to Abbottstown in Dublin for 2017.

However, an application process to hold the games next year has resulted in Athlone being one of just a few locations shortlisted as possible hosts.

Addressing Monday’s meeting of the Municipal District, Mayor Aengus O’Rourke outlined the importance of supporting Athlone Institute of Technology’s bid to host the finals.

Mayor O’Rourke said he was not sure that the games in Abbottstown had gone as well as organisers had hoped. He said he believed the venue in the capital does not measure up to what Athlone has to offer in terms of facilities, accommodation, hospitality and value for money.

Mayor O’Rourke said he has met with AIT and with the CEO of the Community Games in an effort to do all he can to ensure the return of the finals to Athlone.

Cllr John Dolan (FG ), who was mayor at the time of the fallout last year, said: “It was a big shock at the time. The situation was badly handled, but we have to move on now and let bygones be bygones. It’s an important feather in Athlone’s cap to have the games here. I think the organisers realise the facilities and services they have here are second to none.”

Fianna Fáil councillor, Frankie Keena said it is imperative that events like the Community Games and All Ireland Drama Festival are retained in Athlone. He suggested the council act to make these events even more attractive, by providing free bus transportation in and out of town.”

Cllr Paul Hogan (SF ) commended Mayor O’Rourke for his contribution to securing the return of the competition finals. He also praised President Ciaráin Ó Catháin and AIT for the state-of-the-art facilities Athlone can offer such an event.

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