By Rose Barrett
Members of Fingal County Council (FCC) last night voted unanimously to adopt Part 8 development of the Ballymastone Sporting, Recreational & Educational campus in Donabate.
The sport hub in Donabate is described as being of a “world class” standard and will see a third generation GAA/ two soccer sized fully floodlit all-weather pitches, an eight lane 400 Metre all-weather running track set around a grass-green infrastructure soccer pitch, three viewing stands, 16 x 15 mt high LED floodlights, a junior playground, along with a combined senior playground and skatepark approximately 1400sq. mt.
Cllr Adrian Henchy (FF) who has been one of the consistent advocates for the Ballymastone campus welcomed the support of FCC councillors on Monday evening last, which could see a specialist contractor appointed by the end of the year or early 2022.
“Since 2014, this project started from the ground up with Lambay Sports Athletics Club joining with St Ita’s AFC and St Pats GAA to create a vision for a world class sporting and recreational campus, to serve the needs of the Donabate/Portrane peninsula,” said Cllr Henchy.
“In recent months, the project took a major step forward through the direct intervention of FCC Chief Executive, Ann Marie Farrelly and Minister for Housing, Local Government & Heritage, Darragh O’Brien who negotiated and agreed the service site funding of €11.5m towards infrastructural improvements within Donabate/Portrane to include the early delivery of the hub at Ballymastone.”
Future Education Capacity
The campus is also designed to cater for the future delivery of new schools to the peninsula, for both primary and second level. Cllr Henchy praised the inclusion of a junior and senior playground along with an impressive skatepark, in recognising that not all children or youth are not into formal sports.
“I want to acknowledge the enormous efforts of Brian Mc Grath and Felim Mc Allister on behalf of St Patrick’s GAA Club; Conor Tonra and Brian Tighe of St Ita’s AFC, and Dara Carr and Sonia Francis of Lambay Sports & Athletics Club.
“All six were tremendous ambassadors for their respective clubs and conducted their business with Fingal County Council with utmost professionalism and generosity of spirit at all times. There have been numerous formal and informal meetings held over the last seven years and hundreds of hours by phone and email.
“The decision of St Pat’s GAA which, following a club EGM, agreed to give back their land and lease to FCC ultimately provided for the campus to be delivered. The club will be compensated for its generous gesture by getting a lease for a similar size land bank elsewhere within the Ballymastone Campus.”
The facility will include generous bicycle and car parking spaces with 20 spaces reserved for persons with special needs, landscaping and extensive tree planting incorporating water sensitive design, surfaced pathways, drainage works, etc.
“Praise must go to FCC CE Ann Marie Farrelly; Director of Planning Strategic Infrastructure Matthew McAleese and SEO for Parks & Open Spaces, Mr. Kevin Halpenny; all with their teams put in an incredible amount of work and detail into delivering this world class facility which will greatly add to the already superb facilities at Ballymastone.”
In conclusion, Cllr Henchy noted the support of fellow councillor on the peninsula Cllr Paul Mulville (SD) “who supported me every step of the way, re my many questions and motions on this project over the last seven years.”
The project now moves onto the procurement phase which will see a specialist contractor appointed to the project in late 2021 or early 2022 with work expected to get underway in late Summer 2022.