NUI Galway and the Galway City Council have a duty to provide St Michael’s GAA Club with suitable facilities now that work is about to begin on the Westside Sports Complex.
This is the view of Fianna Fáil city councillor Ollie Crowe who said the club has not been able to play home games for much of this season and will now potentially be unable to play home games at any level for the forthcoming two seasons.
St Michael’s has been without a regulation size playing pitch for a number of years since the start of works on Seamus Quirke Road. The club had been able to hold games for juvenile teams up to u-16 level, but that pitch which will no longer be possible to use once the works in Westside begin.
Cllr Crowe said the facilities officer of NUIG has indicated that the university could help in finding a solution and provide a playing ground, and that talks with City Hall had been held but no agreement had been reached.
Cllr Crowe noted that the time when the facilities were most needed by St Michael’s - early April to late September - the NUIG pitches were unused as the university GAA season concludes in March.
The Bohermore based councillor has now written to city manager Brendan McGrath, requesting a meeting between Mr McGrath and St Michael’s club officials early next week, and to re-open talks with NUIG “as a matter of urgency”.
Cllr Crowe said City Hall should reach an agreement whereby it would let facilities from NUIG which could then be sublet to St Michael’s for the duration of the works on Westside Sports Complex, which is projected to last 18 - 24 months.
However, if unsuccessful in such an effort, Cllr Crowe noted that it “remained incumbent upon the council” to provide adequate facilities to the satisfaction of St Michael’s.
“We’re frequently told about the importance of our youth being active and taking part in sport,” he said. “St Michael’s plays a role of fundamental importance in offering the youth of Westside, Bushypark, and the surrounding areas a sporting outlet so adequate facilities need to be found as a matter of priority for the club.”