Sports opportunities for the disadvantaged across Limerick

Norma Prendiville

Reporter:

Norma Prendiville

Phelim Macken of the County Limerick Sports Partnership
TWENTY five sports and leisure facilities across the county now offer reduced rates for the unemployed, members of the Joint Policing Committee have been told.

TWENTY five sports and leisure facilities across the county now offer reduced rates for the unemployed, members of the Joint Policing Committee have been told.

Addressing the March meeting last week, Phelim Macken of the Co Limerick Sports Partnership said that excellent reductions were on offer and the operators had also been very accommodating in offering different kinds of membership and ways of paying.

His comments came as he outlined the many activities and programmes undertaken by the Sports Partnership for disadvantaged areas, citing initiatives such as Games on the Green, the Schools Completion Programme, Family Days and the Traveller Health programme. In Abbeyfeale, he said, there were now 27 members of the Traveller community involved in handball while the number in Kilmallock was a little more, at 29.

Mr Macken also spoke about an information evening for sports coaches on substance abuse, following the success of a pilot evening before Christmas. Some young people will engage with sports coaches about substance abuse when they won’t talk to parents or teachers.

But Cllr Tomas Hannon expressed disappointment that there was no mention of Raheen or Dooradoyle in the list of programmes. “We should be looking at developing 17 acres in Ballykeefe and we should be looking at developing community sporting facilities,” he said.

The 17 acres at Ballykeefe are expected to come into council ownership “within a few weeks,” Cllr James Collins pointed out. “We need to start putting together a plan.” It was a long, narrow piece of land, he added and he suggested it would be suitable for cycling around the perimeter.

On the issue of Vartry Fields, Cllr Collins said it could be used not just for sporting activity but also for allotments. All the sports facilities in the area are private clubs, he said. And some people were excluded as a result of not being able to pay.

Earlier Mr Macken said that some approaches had been made to clubs in the Raheen area to see if they would be willing to engage on the issue of Vartry Field. But he continued: “Some of them had moved on.”

However, Cllr Collins argued for Vartry Field to be taken over by the council and some kind of management structure put in place involving various clubs. “They don’t have the funding to do it alone,” he said.