Seanad debates

Tuesday, 18 May 2021

Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters

Sports Facilities

9:00 am

Photo of Colm BrophyColm Brophy (Dublin South West, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I thank the Senator for raising this matter and for giving me the opportunity to respond on behalf of the Minister for Defence, Deputy Coveney.

Since the establishment of the Defence Forces, it has been a long-standing practice to allow sporting organisations and local community groups access to military lands. This policy reflects the importance to the Defence Forces of being front and centre within the communities in which their military installations are located. In 2019, in a pre-Covid context, in excess of 100 sporting organisations and community groups throughout the country were facilitated by having access to military property. This is a proud tradition which has served both the Defence Forces and generations within communities in good stead and I am happy to say that it is intended that this practice will continue into the future.

The Department of Defence receives numerous requests for the use of Defence Forces facilities throughout the country and always endeavours to process any application for use in a fair, equitable and community-centred fashion. In relation to the playing pitches at Cathal Brugha Barracks, the Department fully appreciates that the lack of facilities available to sporting groups in the Dublin 6 and Dublin 6W areas is a huge challenge and, as such, it authorises the use of these pitches to two GAA clubs in particular. Indeed, more than 40 hours of use every week is authorised to these clubs on the military training field. The question of how the clubs use their individual allocations is a matter for themselves and the Senator will appreciate that it would not be appropriate to prioritise one club at the expense of another.

The military training field is actively used by the Defence Forces for induction, team sports and military training on a regular basis. In these circumstances, it is paramount that the Defence Forces maintains this training field in Cathal Brugha Barracks which provides an appropriate, safe and secure location for military training. However, the Senator can be assured that the Defence Forces will continue to facilitate use of the facility, outside of military exigencies, by a number of local sporting organisations and schools in the Dublin 6 and Dublin 6W community. Again, I thank the Senator for raising the matter.


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