The decision to fix this year’s Connacht minor and senior Football finals for Hyde Park in Roscommon rather than Pearse Stadium has been described as disappointing yet inevitable by Fianna Fáil General Election candidate John Connolly.
“It’s disappointing that a top class facility such as Pearse Stadium which has a greater capacity than Hyde Park and provides superior spectator comfort didn’t get the nod on this occasion” said Mr Connolly, who added that the impression cannot go out that Galway is unable to cope with events like this.
“The Connacht Council would have been very mindful of the experiences of supporters who attended the recent Galway v Mayo match, many of whom complained about lengthy traffic delays, particularly after the game. Avoiding any repeat of these experiences would have been among their priorities.”
“The Connacht Final would have brought a crowd in the region 25,000 to Salthill for the day. It would have been a bumper day for business in Salthill and the city. The business community need events like this.”
“The big fear I have is that organisations considering Galway as a venue for major events will see this as a vote of no confidence in the city. We cannot allow a perception such as this to take hold. It must be challenged strongly. At the moment Galway is viyng for the Capital of Culture title in 2020 and Pearse Stadium is hoping to be part of the nation’s bid to host the Rugby World Cup in 2023. We must reassure people that Galway can hold these events and that people will enjoy their time in Galway.”
Mr Connolly commented that other cities such as Limerick which holds major GAA and Rugby games on a regular basis doesn’t seem to encounter the same problems as Galway when events are hosted there. “In Limerick, the Gaelic grounds and Thomand Park are both situated in residential areas and events seem to pass off much easier than they do in Galway.”
“It’s obvious that the enhanced roads network and the bypass of Limerick city are assisting greatly in making these venues more accessible for patrons,” he concluded.