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Council wants Mayo GAA to clarify Lough Lannagh plans

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PROPOSED MEETING Cllr Cyril Burke.

Motion passed to invite GAA to next meeting


Michael Gallagher

Castlebar will soon be a renowned sporting hub and the local authority want to know whether Mayo GAA will be a part of that or not. That was the message delivered at last week’s Municipal District meeting held in the Lough Lannagh Leisure Complex in the county town.
A project to develop a GAA Centre of Excellence at the Castlebar site has been in the offing for the past few years, but local politicians stated on Wednesday that they’re running out of patience.
“This whole complex is a huge asset to the town and the county, so we need to see if the GAA are committed to being part of it or not. This is too big a project to be left hanging out there and if the GAA don’t want to be part of it, that’s fine, but we need to know, so that we can get on with other parts of it,” incoming cathaoirleach, Cllr Martin McLoughlin stated.
His opinion was backed up by all present, including Cllr Cyril Burke. “The word on the ground is that there’s a clash for funding between the Connacht Centre of Excellence in Bekan and having a Mayo one here in Castlebar. It’s imperative that Mayo have our own one here in the county town. If smaller counties such as Offaly and Sligo can have one, surely, we can too. “Bekan is big enough to thrive on its own and this myth that we can’t have one for Mayo needs to be put to bed very quickly.”
Outgoing cathaoirleach, Cllr Blackie Gavin, was equally passionate about the project. “This is for the youth of our county and we must move it on. This is a wonderful facility here at Lough Lannagh and the GAA Centre of Excellence would be a hugely attractive part of it. There’s a huge investment going into a climbing facility, there’s a state-of-the-art facility here at the leisure centre, the water sports aspect is developing every day, the boxing centre is the best in the country and there will soon be a top-class running track. This is just the start and we are already attracting athletes from all over the world. So, how is a multi-million-euro project turning into a multi-million-euro problem?”
The debate was soon given a focus when Cllr Burke proposed a course of action be taken. “The GAA are kicking for touch. We need them to come in here and explain what their plans are. It’s been dragging on for too long at this stage and this whole project cannot be stalled because of them. I propose that we hear from them at our next meeting.”
Cllr Burke’s proposal was seconded by Cllr Gavin and agreed by all present.