Bacik calls for greater provision of playing fields and recreational space in Dublin Bay South
- Minister for Defence refuses request for transfer of playing pitch at Cathal Brugha Barracks
Senator Ivana Bacik, prospective Labour candidate in the Dublin Bay South Bye-Election, reacted today to news that Minister for Defence Simon Coveney has refused to agree to a request she had made jointly with her Labour colleague Councillor Mary Freehill that the Department of Defence would transfer the ownership of the playing pitch at Cathal Brugha Barracks to Dublin City Council for public use and development as a local sports amenity for children.
Speaking today, Senator Bacik said:
“Councillor Mary Freehill and I have been working for some time now to try and secure much-needed playing fields and sports amenities for children in the Rathmines and Ranelagh area. We have a serious shortage of public playing fields locally. In 2020, for example, the Ranelagh Gaels GAA club (which covers Ranelagh, Rathmines and Harold’s Cross) had 320 boys under the age of 12 and 305 girls; their numbers in 2021 are estimated to be over 700 for the juvenile section; if the growth rate continues they could have over 1,500 members by 2025.
“Yet Ranelagh Gaels do not have any guarantee of access to playing fields on a permanent basis. Currently, they have some limited access to the playing fields at Cathal Brugha Barracks; however this is unsatisfactory and inadequate to their needs. Mary Freehill has put down a motion at Dublin City Council seeking that they would be transferred to Dublin City Council so that they could be developed properly for children’s sports training and provision of the necessary facilities. I also wrote to Minister Coveney seeking his support for this motion.
“However, Mary and I are very disappointed that Minister Coveney has now refused our request, in a letter stating that the fields concerned are training fields ‘used by the Defence Forces for induction training, team training, sports and military training on a regular basis.’
“While this is very disappointing, it is welcome that the Minister has stated that ‘the Defence Forces will continue to contribute to their role in the community in facilitating the.. clubs currently utilising the facility outside of military exigencies.’
“In the current climate it is vital that, at the very least, local clubs with growing numbers of young girls and boys involved, would have priority rights for use of the playing fields at Cathal Brugha Barracks. Mary and I are asking now that Minister Coveney would intervene to ensure greater access to these fields in the interests of the health and well-being of our local children. We would welcome the opportunity for a meeting with the Minister to engage further on this.”