BY CHRIS MCNULTY
THE development of the multi-million euro Donegal GAA Centre of Excellence in Convoy received a huge boost this morning when funding was granted which will enable developers to complete the current phase of the development.
First revealed in last Friday’s Donegal News, confirmation from the Government came this morning that €300,000 has been allocated to the project under the Sports Capital Grants.
Croke Park’s National Infrastructure and Safety Committee recently confirmed funding of €250,000 to go along with the €125,000 raised by the Club Tir Chonaill fund-raising vehicle led by Danny Harkin. The additional funding will enable the erection of a perimeter fence and the installation of floodlights on the two pitches
Now, the Government’s announcement will enable Donegal GAA to build dressing rooms and associated facilities on the site. Ball stops have been erected on the pitches with the goalposts also set to be installed.
Donegal GAA Development Officer Michael McMenamin told of his delight at the announcement.
“This money will be used to erect a clubhouse containing dressing rooms, medical facilities, public toilets and meeting/dining area,” he explained.
“This major financial boost to the project should ensure that changing facilities will be available to players by the beginning of 2014 season.
“Donegal GAA will immediately be appointing Architects to oversee the project and the building process will give employment to a number of people in the construction sector.”
In welcoming the announcement from Minister Michael Ring, Donegal TDs Joe McHugh and Dinny McGinley said in a joint statement: “Donegal County Board is to be commended for its ambition and energy in driving this Centre of Excellence project.
“The Centre of Excellence will support the great work that Donegal GAA clubs are doing in our local communities to nurture the talents of young players, all of whom are inspired by Donegal’s success in the All Ireland Football Championship this year.
“The ambassadorial work that Donegal senior players and management are doing to promote GAA in our county at present, is heightening interest in Gaelic Games in Donegal. This is very positive.”
The announcement also serves as a significant commencement to the beginning of Sean Dunnion’s Chairmanship of the Donegal Co Board. Just yesterday, the new Chairman, in an interview with the Donegal News, listed completion of the €3.1million development as a priority for 2013.
He said: “The benefits that can be acrued out of it will be huge to our footballers, our hurlers, our ladies, our camogie players, our schools…the benefits to everyone will be immense. It has to be a priority for 2013.”
Donegal chiefs hope to have architects appointed by mid-January with construction to commence as soon as possible.