Knocklyon United call on council to change plans for houses at pitches

by Mark O'Brien
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FAI Chief Executive John Delaney (pictured with Executive Committee members of Knocklyon United and Mick Kennedy of the DDSL) has pledged the FAI's support to the club's campaign to keep their pitches in Ballycullen Park

Knocklyon United have called on South Dublin County Council to reconsider plans to build social housing at their pitches in Ballycullen Park.

The council plans to build 42 social houses in Ballycullen Park and say that the club will not be affected by the building of these houses.

But club officials say the building of the houses would have a negative effect on the club and prevent it from growing in the future.

In statement released this week, Knocklyon United Chairman Donal Skelly said: “Over 30 years ago we started with a single team, we now cater for nearly 600 players of all ages.

“Our mission to this day is to provide football for all ages, girls and boys regardless of ability. A team of 100 dedicated volunteers selflessly run the club to the highest standards.”

Mr Skelly said the club was experiencing rapid growth, due to the building of additional housing developments in the area and need to increase facilities to meet the growing demand.

“We are currently growing at a rate of 20% per annum, which means that within four years, we could potentially be meeting the sporting needs of 1,000 girls and boys of all ages.

“To lose the pitches at Ballycullen Park will have a devastating impact on Knocklyon Utd FC and the greater community at large.

“Currently every week, 450 children between the ages of seven years and 12 years of age use the pitches at Ballycullen.

“Every week hundreds of children from all over Dublin and the surrounding counties travel to Ballycullen Park to enjoy partaking in sport regardless of their ability.

“Removal of the pitches will result in the immediate lack of facilities for 450 of our youngest players and their opponents, who travel to play them week in week out due to no available alternative site in the area.”

He added that as Ballycullen Park is fully enclosed, with only two points of access and a network of paths and pedestrian crossings, it was a safe location for young children.

“We, the people of Knocklyon Utd FC are totally opposed to any development at Ballycullen Park that removes, reduces or impacts negatively on this precious vibrant local amenity.”

A spokesperson for South Dublin County Council told Dublin Gazette that the council was currently preparing plans for social housing units adjacent to Knocklyon United’s pitch.

The spokesperson added: “The club will not lose their pitch or dressing rooms. This proposal when finalised will go through the Part 8 planning and a consultation period is part of this process.

“The council will not be in a position to deal with any further queries outside the planning process.

“I also wish to add that the council staff have, and will continue to discuss the matter directly with the Club officials.”

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