Na Fianna GAA club in Dublin have released a statement to say they are "concerned and alarmed" by plans for Dublin’s new €3 billion Metrolink project, which would see their pitches requisitioned.
The government today unveiled their preferred route for the MetroLink, a north-south train that will run between Swords and Sandyford. It is proposed that the line will run overground from Sandyford to Charlemont, and run underground from there. It is expected that passengers will be able to travel from Dublin airport to the city centre in 20 minutes under the new system, and it is hoped that it will be open to passengers from 2027.
Construction for the new line will include an underground station at the Mobhi Road at Glasnevin, which will impinge on the Na Fianna club. In a statement released today, the club pointed out that the plans will lead to the requisitioning of their main pitch along with two all-weather pitches, for a period of at least three years and potentially for more than six years. The club raised the fact that this will lead to a "significant" loss of income, but added that "this pales in comparison to the potentially irreparable damage to a generation of young Na Fianna members through having the heart and soul of our Club ripped out. Not to mention the inevitable fall-off in playing numbers among all age groups, through being deprived of suitable training and playing facilities".
The club are angry at the lack of consultation from the government on the matter, saying that they were informed at 4.30pm last Friday, less than three working days ahead of the announcement.
The first contact that the Club had with TII was through a phone call received at approximately 4.30pm on Friday 16th March, bank holiday weekend. This was the first time the Club was alerted that the new Metro Project would have any implication for the Club. TII requested the meeting, mentioned above, where we were informed of the severe impact the proposed project would have on Na Fianna’s home.
The Club is naturally very concerned and alarmed with this news. We are also deeply disappointed by the lack of respect afforded that a decision of this magnitude was advised to CLG Na Fianna, less than 48 hours prior to the formal Government announcement.
The National Transport Authority today assured that this would be a "temporary" interruption for Na Fianna, and the facilities would be restored to an "immaculate" standard.
Dublin and Na Fianna's All-Star defender, Johnny Cooper, has taken to Twitter to voice his anger at the proposed plan.
The NTA are forgetting to mention they are TAKING our main GAA pitch and 2 all weather pitches from @clgNaFianna. We cater for 125 teams & have over 3,500 people from the community ENGAGED. This project is supposed to bring people together not force US apart. @Shane_RossTD ?? https://t.co/aROdnaW7c5
— Jonny Cooper (@jcoops) March 22, 2018
Are they serious? Where are we all supposed to go before we get them back ‘in an immaculate position’? https://t.co/aCvwGqkD9S
— Jonny Cooper (@jcoops) March 22, 2018
The club ended their statement with a message of solidarity.
A Members’ Information evening will be arranged in the coming weeks subject to the full facts of the proposal being examined and a suitable venue sourced, and out of this a strong unified approach will be adopted. Ní neart go cur le chéile.
The GAA family, including Croke Park and Dublin GAA have committed to full support for Na Fianna and its members.
We have been through tough times together before. From our founding members’ first struggles to establish the Club in the face of overwhelming adversity, from the rebuilding of our clubhouse after its destruction, and the struggles we have overcome to build a state of the art facility, and not only sustain it, but have it as the beating heart of the community. We have been through tough times before, we will rise to this challenge and come through this together.
Please be assured that members will be kept up to date on progress and further communications will be issued as appropriate.
In the meantime normal service continues on Mobhi Road.
Glaine ár gcroí, neart ár ngéag, beart de réir ár mbriathar.
Purity of our hearts, strength of our limbs, action according to our words.
The plans will also affect Home Farm, who have yet to respond to our request for comment.