Sunday 15 July 2007

Soccer club plan sparks pitch battle with residents

A BATTLE between a soccer club and residents of an affluent suburb in south Co Dublin over proposals for the development of an all-weather pitch has left Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council in a legal quandary.

Some residents claim that despite its name, members, officials and supporters of the soccer club "are mainly" from outside Mount Merrion.

Now the local council has received separate threats of court action from residents in Glenabbey Road, Mount Merrion, on the one side and the Mount Merrion Youths Football Club on the other, over the all-weather soccer pitch at Deerpark, Mount Merrion.

The all-weather floodlit soccer pitch is the most contentious part of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Council's plan for the 33-acre park. Plans were given the go-ahead by councillors at a Dundrum area committee meeting of the council, last March. Almost immediately individual residents of Glenabbey Road sent solicitor's letters to the council threatening legalaction.

The council then decided it would be wiser to complete a Part 8 public consultation process before proceeding further. But then the football club reacted by threatening legal action unless the plan went ahead.

"We don't want legal action, we just want the pitch to be delivered," said club spokesman Dennis Guilfoyle.

Cllr Gearoid O'Keeffe (Ind) criticised the council's handling of the matter. Local councillors were not properly briefed, he said.

He also defended the soccer club, saying "prominent members" of the club came from the area.

Sunday Independent

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