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Lough Lannagh GAA centre delayed


Authorities confident planning will be submitted before end of the year

Edwin McGreal

Although running behind schedule, both Mayo County Council and the Mayo GAA Board remain confident their ambitious plans for a €5 million collaborative facility at Lough Lannagh will proceed.
Fourteen months ago the council and Mayo GAA announced plans for the 27-acre facility at Lough Lannagh, Castlebar to be used by county football and hurling teams at all levels and also accessible by high performance teams staying in the nearby Lough Lannagh Holiday Village.
However, progress since last August has been slow and there were fears in GAA circles in recent weeks that funding issues could jeopardise the project.
However, both the Mayo GAA Board and Mayo County Council are confident their plans will come to fruition.
The playing fields are not expected to be operational until 2021, at the earliest.
Environmental assessments of the land are currently being undertaken while site investigations have already taken place. Included in the plans is the provision for three playing fields, one of which is expected to be accessible to teams staying in the nearby holiday village.
There will also be a park area and an extension of the existing Lough Lannagh Greenway further along the lake. It is also envisioned that the pitches will include changing facilities.
The estimated cost of the three playing pitches, dressing rooms and associated facilities is expected to be in the region of €4 million with the development of the council’s Greenway extension and park area estimated at €1 million.
Mayo County Council are confident that a Part 8 planning application – the method by which local authorities apply for planning permission – will be submitted by the end of the year.
The Mayo News understands that if matters proceed past the planning stage, Mayo County Council will take responsibility for the funding and development of their part of the project with Mayo GAA doing likewise for their half of the development.
Current tensions between the Mayo GAA Board and the Mayo GAA International Supporters’ Foundation have raised concerns about the Lough Lannagh project.
The Foundation is currently withholding €250,000 in funding from the County Board. In a statement issued last month, the Foundation’s chairman, Tim O’Leary said they were ceasing funding to the Mayo County Board ‘until appropriate governance structures are put in place’.
Among the three projects the Foundation specified they will support is the training facility at Lough Lannagh.
The Mayo News understands that Mayo GAA are seeking to raise funds from private donations and sponsorship, combined with availing of funding support from Croke Park, to finance the Lough Lannagh facility.
The board have made a commitment to clubs in the county that they will not be expected to fork out for the Lough Lannagh facility.
Mayo County Council plan the development will form part of a sports tourism hub close to Lough Lannagh, along with the recently opened swimming pool complex, Castlebar Tennis Club, watersports facilities on the lake and a pump track (mountain biking) nearby.
Plans for playing fields and a tartan running track at Knockaphunta, close to the new Mayo Roscommon Hospice building, are also ongoing. Those plans were revealed in 2012 together with the plans for the swimming pool complex at Lough Lannagh.