GAELIC GAMES NEWS: PARNELL’S GAA club have received planning permission from An Bord Pleanála which allows them to begin construction on a €20 million sports facility on the former grounds of Chanel College, near Coolock village, north Dublin.
The club envisage the project will generate up to €5 million in wages for the local community, with 200 people employed during the 12-month development, which will commence in the autumn. On completion, Parnell’s expect to employ 10 staff on a full-time basis and another 20 part time.
The joint venture between Parnell’s and the Marist Fathers – whose 12 acres of land Parnell’s purchased at a reduced rate citing “sports use value” – will ensure pupils at Chanel College will also have use of the new facilities. The investment will increase to €30 million with the construction of 17 houses and 53 apartments on the remaining four acres of land.
Parnell’s were able to undertake this ambitious project due to the sale of 22 acres of land near Dublin airport in 2007, at the height of the property boom, for €22.5 million.
There will be three floodlit pitches, two all weather pitches and a full size sand-based grass pitch, along with a sports hall containing a championship-sized basketball court (discussions on its use are ongoing with local basketball clubs), a gym, a sports therapy centre and a new, modernised clubhouse.
“We are delighted that this superb facility is going to be in the heart of Coolock village where it can become a focal point for our games and community life,” said Parnell’s chairman Frank Gleeson.
The club looked at other modern GAA club developments around the country, like Nemo Rangers GAA in Cork, before drawing up their ambitious plans.
“The facilities here will be the best available anywhere in the country and we are delighted that in a short period of time we will have the facilities to nurture the enthusiasm and talents of the young and not-so-young people of this area,” added Gleeson.
Parnell’s marquee Dublin footballer is Stephen Cluxton and the three-time All Star goalkeeper added: “This will simply transform the club. I believe Parnell’s and the local community will reap the benefit of this decision for many years to come.”
The project began with submissions for planning permission to Dublin County Council on July 31st last year, which was granted in December, but it took a further 10 months before objections could be dealt with in full by An Bord Pleanála.
Project architect Charles Robey stated: “The modern clubhouse design was noted by An Bord Pleanála as being of “high-quality” and features large glazed windows and viewing galleries conceived with a view to ensuring that the playing pitches, player facilities and entertainment areas of the club all integrate seamlessly.”
In recent months they have adopted a proactive recruitment drive ahead of their opening Dublin football championship fixture against 2009 All-Ireland champions Kilmacud Crokes at Parnell Park tonight (6.45pm).