'Devastation' as Limerick sports clubs lose out on €2.5m funding

Fintan Walsh

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh

Limerick Boat Club needs up to €100,000 to fix the club’s roof, which was completely destroyed during Storm Darwin in 2014 Picture: Sean Curtin

Limerick Boat Club needs up to €100,000 to fix the club’s roof, which was completely destroyed during Storm Darwin in 2014 Picture: Sean Curtin

AS almost 90 clubs and organisations across Limerick celebrated the good news that they were going to benefit from a multi-million euro sports capital grant, many communities were at a loss.

Last week, it was announced that €2.5m was to be distributed to a longlist of 87 clubs across the city and county, with many receiving five-figure sums.

But many major local clubs that applied for much-needed funds were unsuccessful, many of whom criticised the “complicated” application process.

Limerick Boat Club took to social media to express their “devastation” at being informed that they were not to benefit from the annual sports grant scheme.

They had been looking for up to €100,000 from the programme in order to fix their roof, which was completely destroyed during Storm Darwin in February 2014.

“This recent grant announcement is utterly devastating. Reading the news about other Limerick clubs receiving funding and thinking about another year, possibly more, operating out of a building as we have, is hard,” the club said in a statement issued on Twitter.

“We have all worked tirelessly over the past three years to recruit and maintain an active membership. We have rallied a truly remarkable group of people who each week turn a blind eye to the conditions they face. No running water, limited light and power. No secure facilities and no roof. We will regroup and push forward again with positive energy.”

“Disappointed” Kilmallock GAA was looking for up to €150,000 from the Sports Capital Programme, in order to progress the first phase of the club’s major development plan, comprising toilets, a new canteen, a shop and fencing. The second and third phase of the development will include dressing rooms, function and games rooms, a gym, a new astroturf pitch, walking track, and development of stands.

Club chairperson Steven Connery said that they had filled out the application form “to their best of our ability”.

“But it’s a thing that one tick of the wrong box could throw you out straight away. I think that’s what it comes down to a lot of the time. It’s a critical form.”

He added: “This was probably going to speed up the process, but it wasn’t going to deter us whether we got it or not. It hasn’t stopped us from going forward.”

Staker Wallace GAA was also left disappointed after the grants were announced, as they were hoping to develop a hurling wall with the potential funding.

Secretary Denis Martin said that the application process “is fairly complicated” and that they will be doing their own fundraising until the applications reopen next year. 

Mountcollins-Tournafulla club suffered the cold blow of rejection in the tranche of funding. The club is currently moving to complete a €350,000 state-of-the-art clubhouse to replace their old one and has been actively fundraising for it.

Deputy Willie O’Dea has said that the application process for clubs should be “simplified”.

“There isn’t much information coming out with regards what you need, and if people make a mistake then they find that their application is invalid.  At the very minimum, people should be contacted and told that there is difficulty with their application and give them a chance to rectify it.”