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  • Northside West

Pitched off and putt out!

Monday, 22nd October, 2018 8:00am

Story by Jack Gleeson
Pitched off and putt out!

Members of Erin’s Isle Pitch and Putt Club beside a felled tree on the course. Photo: Darren Kinsella

Pitched off and putt out!

Members of Erin’s Isle Pitch and Putt Club beside a felled tree on the course. Photo: Darren Kinsella

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MEMBERS of the pitch and putt section of a local GAA club are furious after their course was torn up within hours of a decision to redevelop the ground as a training facility.

Erin’s Isle CLG decided at a Special General Meeting (SGM) earlier this month to back the decision of its Executive Committee following a review that began last December.

However, the pitch and putt players say they were shocked to discover diggers had started tearing up the course the morning after the October 5 meeting.

The course was due to be used this month for the Kevin Blackburn Memorial Shield, one of the most popular events on the Dublin pitch and putt calendar.

Erin’s Isle Pitch and Putt Competition Secretary, Thomas Barry, said that while the decision to redevelop wasn’t surprising, members were sickened that their beloved course was dug up so quickly.

“I’ve no problem that they’ve done it, but it’s the way that they did it,” he told Northside People. “We’re very bitter over it. It’s just lousy.”

“As a club we don’t accept it at all. They could have at least let us finish out the season up to December 31.”

Finglas local Dave Lynam said the pitch and putt club had served men, women and children from the community since it was established in 1964.

“No notice was given and after just hours of the SGM, chaos and destruction was caused to the course in the early hours of the following morning,” he said.

“In a matter of hours, over 50 years of history was wiped out. This action was disgusting and unnecessary.

“Members were shown no respect - the least they could have done was let them see out their membership until the end of year.

“There has been outrage within the local community.”

In its heyday, the pitch and putt section of Erin’s Isle attracted hundreds of members.

In 2004, an unsuccessful attempt was made by pitch and putt players to take control of the section from the Erin’s Isle Executive Committee and run it as a separate entity.

Over the following years, membership dwindled and this year the pitch and putt section of the club has only 37 members.

Following the SGM, the Erin’s Isle CLG Executive Committee posted a statement on the club’s Facebook page.

“After nearly 50 years in existence, it is with great sadness that Erin’s Isle CLG are announcing the immediate closure of their Pitch & Putt grounds,” the post read.

The post said that diminishing numbers in the pitch and putt section and an increase in juveniles participating in Gaelic games meant space for its core games was at a premium.

The committee said efforts by the club to increase participation in pitch and putt had been unsuccessful.

“While the Executive Committee have every right to make this decision themselves to change the use, it was decided that the most prudent and transparent approach would be to let its membership decide,” the post said.

“The Executive Committee are cognisant that we are discommoding some of our senior members but we have to follow the mandate from our 1,000 plus players on 64 teams who represent the Finglas area each week.

“The availability of adequate playing and training surfaces is a major concern for the club and it is constraining the development of our youngest members.”

Dublin Pitch and Putt County Board said it was standing with the Erin’s Isle members and described their treatment on its Facebook page as “disgusting”.

“This is another blow to not only Dublin Pitch & Putt but to the people of Finglas and surrounding areas,” a statement read.

“Pitch & putt is a game that caters for people of all ages.”

Heavy machinery was brought in to clear the site.

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here