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Queen Elizabeth II Steve Parsons/PA Wire/Press Association Images
The Queen at Croker

Croke Park residents ask Queen for a ‘small favour’ over handball centre eviction

The Croke Park Streets Committee has written to the Queen to ask for her support in their battle to remain at the Irish Handball Centre beside GAA headquarters.

Updated 5.50pm

CROKE PARK RESIDENTS have written to Queen Elizabeth ahead of her visit to Ireland next week asking for her support in their bid to fight the eviction from the Irish Handball Centre beside GAA headquarters.

The Croke Park Streets Committee has asked Her Majesty to inform any GAA officials she meets on her visit to Croke Park that she is aware of the residents  ”plight” and cite the way in which Arsenal Football Club has treated residents around its Emirates stadium in north London as an example.

The letter, which asks for this “small favour”, was sent to Buckingham Palace on Wednesday and refers to the changing relationship between the British monarchy and the GAA.

The letter states that it is now the case that the Queen is “regarded with deep affection” by many in GAA headquarters “unlike their attitude to our local community.”

The Croke Park Street Committee hopes that the Queen may be of “some great assistance” with this issue.

Residents claim that the Handball and Community Centre serves a community purpose and that the GAA is seeking to have the venue demolished and replaced with a €9 million redevelopment that has no such community facilities.

Croke Park requested that the Irish Handball Council vacate the premises in a letter sent in February.

The committee says that the proposed alternative development has been opposed by all 17 local politicians and 10 residents committees representatives at a recent An Bord Pleanála oral hearing.

The committee recently interrupted the GAA congress in Mullingar, protesting the planned eviction.

Croke Park Streets Committee chairman Eamon O’Brien told this morning that Arsenal FC had invested “a lot more money and a lot more time to the needs of local residents” citing examples of social housing and a recycling plant being built around the area of the Emirates stadium.

He said that although the letter was sent a bit late he was hopeful of some support.

This afternoon, a spokesperson for Buckingham Palace told that whilst it does answer every letter it receives it would not comment on private correspondence.

The GAA could not be reached for comment.

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