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Adam Caffrey of Na Fianna in action in 2016. Tommy Dickson/INPHO
going underground

GAA club could lose pitch for up to six years due to Metrolink works

In total, the National Transport Authority reckons that 100 properties will be affected.

NA FIANNA GLG says it is concerned about plans for Dublin’s new €3 billion Metrolink project.

The club’s home on Mobhi Road in Glasnevin is set to be both the home to a new underground station on the route and a “tunnel boring depot” – used as a home for equipment.

The emerging preferred route published today will see the high-frequency, electric rail service go from Malahide to Sandyford carrying 15,000 passengers an hour.

However, there will be impacts on areas near the build. In total, the National Transport Authority reckons that 100 properties will be affected, including 70 apartments near Tara Street in the city.

20180322_161619 The map shows in yellow where the underground stop is planned - right below the playing fields. NTA NTA

Among the others will be Na Fianna and Home Farm FC. The GAA club today issued a statement on the issue, saying:

“At a meeting in Mobhi Road on Tuesday night 20th March, members of the Na Fianna Club Executive were advised by representatives from Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) that the construction programme for the proposed Metro Link (formerly known as Metro North and due to commence in 2020), would involve the requisition of the front pitch and both all-weather pitches on Mobhi Road as well as Home Farm soccer pitch.

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 club says that the plan will mean it will:

  • Lose the use of the main Mobhi Road road pitch for a minimum of three years and potentially for six or more years
  • Lose both all-weather pitches for the same time
  • And lose “significant” revenue from clubhouse activities

However, the club maintains the loss of revenue is a small loss.

Though significant, this pales in comparison to the potential 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 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.

Addressing the issue at today’s launch, Aidan Foley of Transport Infrastructure said that the disruption would be temporary and playing pitches would be “returned to an immaculate position” after the works.

PastedImage-41089 A cross-section of the MetroLink stations. NTA NTA

Anne Graham of the NTA told that disruption was unavoidable.

“There obviously has to be some disruption when you’re building a project of this size. There is disruption particularly around the stations and where you’re launching the tunnel boring machines.

“We want to minimise that and Metrolink is designed to do that. I understand the concerns people have and would encourage them to engage with TII.”

Na Fianna said that the club would not comment beyond the statement.

Local Fianna Fáil councillor Paul McAuliffe said that community buy-in was needed, but so were alternatives for the clubs.

““I very much welcome any effort to address the deficits in transport in our area but I do have concerns regarding the proposal by Transport for Ireland and the National Transport Authority to claim the main playing fields belonging to two local sports clubs; Na Fianna GAA club and Homefarm Football Club.

“While there is no denying that an infrastructure project of this scale necessitates some inconvenience, the impact of this measure on both clubs cannot be understated.

“Na Fianna GAA Club and Homefarm FC have been in our community for over 60 years and every Saturday morning the pitches of both clubs are filled with children of all ages. Alternative locations to facilitate local club activity will certainly not be easily found.”

The Metrolink plan would commence construction in 2020 and be completed by 2027.

Read: The ‘Metro North’ is now the MetroLink – here’s what it’ll look like

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