Minister for Sport Brendan Griffin accepted an invitation from Kildare South TD Martin Heydon to visit St. Conleths Park Newbridge last week. The Minister was given a tour of the grounds and received a presentation on the redevelopment plans by County Board Chairman Ger Donnelly and Chairman of the redevelopment team Padraig McManus.
Speaking after the visit Deputy Heydon, who has been working closely with Kildare County Board officers on their plans said “In light of the recent budget announcement of a €50m scheme for large scale sports projects, I felt the time was right for our sports Minister to meet with Kildare Gaa and see at first hand the need for the redevelopment of our County Grounds.
County Board Chairman Ger Donnelly said that he was delighted to welcome Minister Griffin and Martin Heydon to St. Conleth’s to see our current facilities and more importantly to review our ambitious development proposals. The Minister explained that our Project was the type of large scale scheme that Government wished to support and he looked forward to receiving our submission early next year.
Padraig McManus said that our Design Team is due to commence work on November 1st. This will facilitate our Project being in the planning process when we are making our submission to Government. The timing is perfect for us and will give great momentum to all involved.
The recent budget included the announcement of a €50m four year scheme for large scale/regional sports projects, with expressions of interest being sought by the Minister in early 2018. This scheme came on top of a doubling of this years sports capital programme for clubs and sporting organisations to €60m, with a final decision on these applications due in the coming weeks.
Deputy Heydon stated “While I’m working closely with a number of clubs who applied for sports capital funding, to secure as many grants in the county as possible, I passionately believe that we must push to deliver the bigger project of revamping our County Grounds for the benefit of this and future generations of Kildare Gaa players and supporters.
Minister Griffin was impressed by the ambitious plans outlined to him by our County Board Officers and he saw at first hand the very real need for a multi million euro redevelopment. He understands that we are a proud Gaa county with facilities that are not up to a standard expected. I will continue to work with the County Board to make the best case for state support in conjunction with financial assistance from the Gaa nationally for a redevelopment that our club and county, footballers and hurlers, along with the loyal Lilywhite supporter can all be proud of.