A rendering of the proposed national handball and community centre

FORMER Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has helped broker a deal to end a long-running dispute between the GAA and the Irish Handball Council Social Club.
The row centred around GAA plans to demolish the popular club and bar facility beside Hill 16 to replace it with a multi-million euro sports complex.
Residents living near Croke Park feared the loss of a valued amenity to a complex that would dominate the urban landscape and cause traffic and parking problems.
The legal dispute has been simmering for more than 20 years, but earlier this month both sides reached a compromise, with details of a new partnership approach to the redevelopment plans.
Under the deal, the GAA will work with Dublin City Council on the reconstruction of Sackville Avenue to demolish Croke Villas, provide new housing and build a world-class national handball and community centre.
A new entrance to Croke Park to take pressure off other local streets – backed by residents but subject to planning permission – is also part of the project.
The new centre will be managed through a partnership between the GAA, the local community and handball centre members.
The deal is the result of a long-running mediation process chaired by Bertie Ahern.
A life-long Dubs fan, he said: “I am very pleased to have played a role in clearing the way for the renewal of a part of Ballybough that desperately needs it, and in adding an important new mechanism for the GAA and the local community to work together.”
The end of the lengthy dispute also paves the way for the All-Ireland 60×30 handball finals and semi-finals for 2016 to be played at the existing centre.
The chairman of the Irish Handball Council Sports Centre, Fintan Farrelly, said members welcomed the “new spirit of partnership and co-operation” with the GAA.
He said: “We are happy that the long-running court case has been resolved. We now look forward to a harmonious relationship with the GAA that will be an enormous benefit to the local community and the handball community alike.”