THE redevelopment of Rathkeale’s Mick Neville Park is back on the agenda after Limerick received a €500,000 grant from the Munster Council.
Confirmation of the half a million euro grant came as the Munster Council unveiled a grant package of €3.75 million for the redevelopment of Cork’s Pairc Ui Chaoimh.
However, Limerick has also profited from the provincial council monies, which are separate from the almost €80,000 which was awarded to ten different Limerick clubs from the Munster Council in late November.
“The grant can be spent, in consultation with the officers of the council, on major ground development projects, county centres of excellence, and can also be used to pay off debts,” outlined Limerick’s Munster Council delegate Denis Holmes.
Limerick GAA chairman Oliver Mann told club delegates at this Tuesday’s January County Board meeting that the executive would have to meet with Munster Council officials to confirm how the grant was used.
“I spoke with Robert Frost and the Munster Council will meet with the chairman, secretary and treasurer after the Munster Convention and the county will have to bring proposals on how they are to utilise the money, which can only be utilised in an agreed fashion,” said Mann, welcoming the grant aid.
With Limerick still close to €700,000 in debt some of the money will no doubt be used for repayments but some of the money is expected to be directed towards Mick Neville Park and indeed the Gaelic Grounds.
Just last month it was confirmed that Limerick had made an official request to have Hawk-Eye installed in the Gaelic Grounds and perhaps the new grant could be utilised in this regard.
However, most will be happy to hear that the completion of Mick Neville Park is back on the agenda.
In early 2012, planning permission was granted for works to complete the main playing pitch in the centre of excellence facility in Rathkeale. Those plans included ‘the construction of a stadium complex to incorporate a seated spectator stand’ and ’four players dressing rooms, treatment rooms, referee’s changing facilities’.
Also included in those state-of-the-art plans were ‘gymnasium and indoor handball court with spectator seating’ and ‘first floor conference room and office area with second floor press and media rooms’.
Back in December 2008 the first stage of the Mick Neville Park development was unveiled at Limerick’s Annual Convention by then chairman Liam Lenihan.
Finally, it appears that the final stage to finalise the surrounds of the main playing pitch could be set for completion.
It is thought that €1 million is required to finish the works. Already money is in the bank - funding that was made available to all counties when finance raised from the opening of Croke Park to the IRFU and FAI a number of years back during the closure of Lansdowne Road.
With the addition of this week’s Munster Council money, Limerick should be well on the way to 50% of the final cost.
Confirming the grant to Limerick, Munster Council chairman Robert Frost spoke of the importance of assisting all counties and clubs in the province.
“We have set out a clear five year budgetary framework that will see no further investment in major capital projects for the next five years. Once this five year cycle is up, the Council will reassess the financial situation and implement another five year budget, based on the considered infrastructural requirements in the province. I can assure clubs that the annual club development grant scheme will also remain in place, a scheme that has invested over €5.5 million in club facilities in the last five years,” stressed the Clare man.
“The Council is in a position to announce this total package of €6.25 million thanks to many years of prudence which has allowed us to build up this reserve. These grants would not be possible without the great support we get from the many thousands of people who attend our games each year and we are delighted to be able to redistribute income to our County and Club units,” said the Munster Council chairman.