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  • Southside

Inchicore football club to stay on new pitch

Monday, 4th March, 2019 1:00pm
Inchicore football club to stay on new pitch
Inchicore football club to stay on new pitch

A SOUTHSIDE football club has agreed a deal with Dublin City Council (DCC) on the usage of a new all-weather pitch in Bluebell.

Inchicore Athletic FC had been engaging with the council to find a suitable alternative for leasing out the pitch, which saw the cost of the club’s lease sky-rocket after it reopened in January.

Southside People reported earlier this year that Bernard Curtis Park was renovated by the council into an all-weather pitch.

Inchicore Athletic FC rang in the New Year with their first competitive fixture on the brand new, all-weather pitch in Bluebell.

The newly renovated Bernard Curtis Park features a 3G floodlight astro-pitch and saw its first game take place on January 4, when Inchicore Athletic FC celebrated a 2-0 victory over Fairview CY. 

However, before the renovation, the club was paying €500 a year to lease out the pitch for training and match purposes. Earlier in February, the club received a notification from the council that rent costs had increased to €7,375, which it then appealed and the figure rose to €10,735.

When the club failed to pay the initial installment, it was issued an eviction notice by the council.

However, talks are now underway between the club and DCC and they have reached an arrangement until the end of the season for the club to stay, this being June.

The club met with the council last week in a meeting chaired by Cllr Hazel Norton.

“We were in a huge dilemma and we were so worried, but as of now, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel,” said Inchicore Athletic FC PRO, Finbarr Dolan.

“I’ve always said that they do a great job and that their hands are tied with the funding, but for now, Inchicore Athletic FC can stay in their home of 35 years.”

The club spends approximately €23,000 a year on operational costs, such as referees, insurance and coaching. The initially proposed rental costs would add an additional €10,735, on top of the €23,000.

Mr Dolan explained that the pitch is very much at the heart of football in the area and gives players, young or old, something to do.

“We want to represent the area and keep kids off the street,” he added.

“We had to curtail our training sessions, which didn’t suit us but we’re willing to make it work. We’ve concluded discussions until June and we’re happy with how they went.”

In a response to Southside People, DCC stated: “Dublin City Council recently constructed a new full size all weather football pitch adjacent to Bluebell Community Centre.

“This pitch replaced the grass pitch at this location. Inchicore Athletic FC along with other teams/clubs played on the grass pitch.”

The statement adds: “There is a set rate for the hiring of a grass pitch for matches for a season. The new all-weather pitch along with the dressing rooms and showers are additional facilities for public use.

“The use of the all-weather pitch for matches , training and the use of the changing facilities and showers are charged at a different rate to grass pitch only hire.

“The rate set for the hire of the all - weather pitch and changing and shower facilities is in line with other Dublin City Council facilities,” the statement adds.

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