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The GAA insist new €12 million national training facility in Abbotstown is not just for Dublin

The new facility was officially opened yesterday.

A view of the GAA's National Games Development Centre in Abbotstown
A view of the GAA's National Games Development Centre in Abbotstown
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

THE GAA HAVE dismissed suggestions that the association’s new National Games Development Centre is weighted in favour of Dublin due to being located in the capital.

Director-General Paraic Duffy insists that the new €12 million facility – which was officially opened yesterday – is open to all ’32 counties and 2,000 clubs’, and has no ‘anchor tenant’.

Duffy outlined how the GAA had to have a presence at the National Sports Campus and it was the Government’s decision to locate that in Abbotstown in West Dublin.

“As the premier sporting organisation in the country we had to be here, but we didn’t decide the site.

“If the government had decided to put this in Athlone or Cavan or Monaghan or Kerry we’d have been there, because we have to be because we are the major national sporting body.

“You couldn’t have a National Sports Campus without the GAA. The government decided it would be here and gave us the land here so we developed it here. We didn’t decide to put a facility into Dublin.”

“There is no anchor tenant. Have Dublin any special say on it? The answer is no. Nor have they sought it to be fair to them. I’m sure they will use it.

IMG_0653 Source: The42.ie

“Our goal is to have teams of all shapes and sizes and so on using it. I think clubs from all over the country will be thrilled with the opportunity of coming here. I think it will be used by all 32 counties and 2,000 clubs.

“That’s what we want and I believe that will happen.”

President Aogán Ó Fearghail addressed queries that the new facility – which has five playing pitches including a 3G pitch, a 400 seater stand, a hurling wall and a gym for teams – will be perceived as a training centre for Dublin’s GAA sides.

“You could do nothing I suppose, then you’d be free from all of that. But we know that there is a huge demand for facilities and we know that our units and our clubs are always looking for places.

“Never forget, it’s not just pitches we are talking about. It’s very important to remember that our coaching courses and child protection courses, there is an incredible amount of developmental work taking place within the GAA and that will be based here within the building.”

It is envisaged that second-level schools and third-level colleges games will be played at the facility while it can also be used for challenge games between counties from different parts of the country given it’s central location.

The centre will open in the next few weeks with telephone bookings currently being taken, while an online booking service will soon be established for GAA units wishing to use it.

Both Duffy and Ó Fearghail were keen to stress that it is not intended to use the centre as a major income generator.

ParaicDuffy Paraic Duffy and Aogán Ó Fearghail at yesterday's press conference Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“The name at the start is important, it’s a national games development centre,” said Ó Fearghail.

“This isn’t a spectator driven event, this is a player centered place, this is about national games development.”

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“It won’t generate an income, a surplus”, outlined Duffy.

“We expect we will have to subsidize it to some degree. We’re happy to do that because we want to maintain it to a very high level.

“The operations are being managed by Croke Park, the pitches are the responsibility of Stuart Wilson at Croke Park. We’re not looking to charge clubs and counties at a rate that will make us a profit.

Source: The42.ie

“We’d like to get as close to break even as we can but we certainly will not be seeking to make a surplus off it at any stage.

“The initial cost, €12 million, €500,000 from the Department of Tourism, Transport and Sport is kind of seed money. That’s our investment.

“So we hope to get to as near to break even as we can but we don’t expect that will be totally achievable.”

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We had a look around the GAA’s new €12 million facility in Abbotstown today

‘You were in a no-win situation’ – GAA defend Dublin-Roscommon venue change

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Fintan O'Toole

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