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Council to give €100,000 to Westport United

Cllr Ollie Gannon, Cathaoirleach, Westport Town Council.
‘A WONDERFUL PROJECT’ Cllr Ollie Gannon, Cathaoirleach, Westport Town Council.

Council to give €100,000 grant to Westport United FC

Neill O’Neill

WESTPORT United’s plans for a new major sporting facility received a massive boost last week, when Westport Town Council pledged €100,000 in funding towards the project. The money will be paid over three or four years and means that part of the facility will be available for use by community groups free of charge. It will go towards phase one of the ambitious plan for 13.5 acres of land on the grounds of Westport House.
The news comes a week after the plan received planing permission and with a decision due in around six weeks on the success of an application for €300,000 worth of sports capital funding from the Government, the project is quickly moving towards realisation.
Westport United need to raise €850,000 for phase one of the plan, which will pay for the purchase of the site, lay two international standard pitches and a training area and build changing rooms. Phase two will see an all-weather ‘astroturf’ pitch being added, at an estimated cost of €150,000, further pitches will be added in phase three at a cost of €300,000 and the final phase will see a clubhouse and stand constructed, which could cost €1.5 million.
Designed by Michael Horan of AXO Architects, each phase has been planned out so as to fit around the one constructed previous to it. This will allow the club to have a fully functioning facility from phase one, without having to finance or build the entire project in one go.
They also need to raise a local contribution of €350,000 for phase one, which is being done through subscriptions, and have over 260 people signed up and making a weekly membership contribution. However, the club are keen to stress that they will need more subscribers in order to reach their targets, and are particularly targeting Westport diaspora. They stressed last week that subscriptions can be made and information obtained through their website www.westportunited.com, on facebook at www.facebook.com/westportunited and via twitter; @u4thefuture.
At last week’s council meeting, where a delegation from Westport United gave a presentation on the project to those in attendance, the councillors were all supportive of the plan and for the idea of donating €100,000, with Cllr Brendan Mulroy describing the proposal as one that will take a ‘lot of effort in order to reach a lifetime’s achievement’. He also passed the baton to Minister of State at the Department of Sport, Michael Ring, whose office administers the sports captial grant funding, saying, ‘he is under pressure now, we put our €100,000 in the fund, now he needs to deliver his €300,000.’
Westport Town Manager, Martin Keating, said the proposal sits well with plans to make Westport the activity capital of Ireland, and added that Westport United make a significant contribution to sport in the town. Cathaoirleach Ollie Gannon called it a wonderful project and said he hoped the council would continue to support it in any way they can, while Cllr Myles Staunton said the amount was ‘appropriate and justified’.

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