Knocklyon United triumph in pitch battle that threatened club

by Padraig Conlon
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Knocklyon United are celebrating one of the biggest victories in their history after the local council voted against building on their pitches.

They have campaigned for over a year against SDCC plans to build social houses in Ballycullen Park which they say would threaten the very existence of their club.

South Dublin County Council had originally sought permission for development of 42 houses, which was then reduced to 32 and finally 27 houses.

Knocklyon United argued that 450 children between the ages of seven and 12 years old use the pitches at Ballycullen every week and removal of the pitches would mean a lack of facilities for their youngest players and their opponents.

At yesterday’s meeting of South Dublin County Council Councillors voted 27-9 against the plan which means Knocklyon United get to keep their pitches.

Last month Knocklyon United Club Chairman Donal Skelly and Club Development Officer Dave Beggy handed over 1250 written submissions at County Hall, Tallaght.

The club took to their Facebook page last night to thank supporters and acknowledge the result.

“Just before the end of this historic day, we need to say a few words….

“Firstly, thankyou to you all, our community, our supporters, our local councillors who have supported us and campaigned along side us, special mention to Cllr. Emma Murphy Cllr. Alan Edge, Independent Cllr Pamela Kearns Ronan McMahon Deirdre O’Donovan and Mary Seery Kearney FG who spoke so passionately today on our behalf.

“Today was an emotional and difficult day.

“We appreciate and respect the consideration of all voting councillors and value your integrity in your decision making,whether you voted for or against this proposal.

“We have never been against social housing and we are cognisant of the dilemma many of you faced with this proposal.

“To our own KUFC family, our Managers, Coaches and Committee members, THANKYOU (sic).”

Local Fine Gael Councillor Mary Seery Kearney explained why she voted against the proposal.

“I am keenly aware of the people on the housing list for this council,” she said.

“And I am mindful of the families desperate need for a home.

“However there should not be a choice between development of housing and the growth of local community bases.

“There are over 600 hectares of underdeveloped land in which the building of housing for 27 families could be undertaken and there would not be a choice between developments of housing and investing into a whole new generation of our community.

“As I voted today I stood beside the residents of Knocklyon when I voted against the proposed development at Ballycullen Park.”

Speaking following the vote, Deputy Mayor of SDCC Trevor Gilligan said:

“It was a fairly large majority.

“People knew before they entered the chamber that it was going to be shot down.

“It is the first Part Eight that hasn’t gone through South Dublin County Council.

“I’ve had large groups of representatives from Knocklyon United contacting me about the proposal.

“I’m in favour of housing, but not when Knocklyon United is losing out and could lose membership.”

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