A United Call From Galway GAA, Camogie and LGFA for Centre of Excellence

A letter addressed to Ministers, Chief Executives of Galway City and County Councils, TDs and city and county councillors on the exploration of Galway Airport site as location for a Centre for Excellence for Galway GAA, Camogie and LGFA

Centre of Excellence for Galway GAA, Camogie and LGFA – Exploration of Galway Airport Site as Location

Dear Minister(s), Chief Executives of Galway City and County Council, Galway West and East T.D.s, Galway City and County Councillors,

We write to you on behalf of Galway GAA, Galway LGFA and Galway Camogie, which represent 157 clubs across Galway East and West, North and South, in every parish in the county and with a combined active membership in excess of 50,000, over 20% of the county’s population.

On a weekly basis, thousands of boys and girls, men and women play our games at both club and county level, and we are particularly proud of the achievements of each of our organisations and teams on a national level in recent years. We have a shared goal of a more integrated approach in future years, on all levels, to reflect the reality within many of our clubs.

As part of our integration discussions to date, one of the key issues which has emerged is the lack of adequate playing and training facilities for a combined Galway GAA, LGFA and Camogie approach to playing our games at all levels and providing adequate facilities. This is particularly prevalent for our Ladies Associations and places a large limitation on developing our games for the young girls of the future.

Collectively, we have been looking at solutions to address this problem. We have identified the Galway Airport site of over 100 acres, with existing parking as an ideal site to develop a municipal centre of excellence for each of our Galway organisations and indeed, possibly, other sports and organisations could also be looked at as a follow-on to our discussions with you.

Request from Galway GAA, LGFA and Camogie
We would like to formally request that as part of the finalisation of the master plan for the Galway Airport site between Galway City and County Council officials and councillors, that it would be explored to ear mark 30-40 acres at this site for the development of a Centre of Excellence for Galway GAA, LGFA and Camogie that would encompass:

  • Construction of a full-size GAA pitch within an indoor facility.
  • Construction of two full size floodlit 4G GAA pitches.
  • Construction of a training centre to encompass dressing rooms, gym facilities, video analysis rooms, catering for teams etc.
  • Construction of 3-4 full size GAA pitches with lights.

The provision of such facilities for each of our organisations would be quite simply a game changer. The site at Galway Airport would represent an ideal location for such a development given its central location in Galway, and the provision of weather proofed facilities with lights would enable fixtures to be ran off on schedule, not to mention providing a training centre for our Galway Senior LGFA and Camogie teams who do not have such a facility at present. Such a development would be in line with government policy on the allocation of funding and resources on an equal basis between men and women.

We understand fully that consideration has been given for an industrial development on this site for local employment in Galway, but we equally believe that such a development could work well side-by-side with such a development.

We also believe that such a development would be warmly welcomed by the people of Galway, and most importantly, could potentially qualify for funding from the Large-Scale Sport Infrastructure Fund which has allocated €20 million to the Connaught Rugby development at the Sportsground recently and has opened a further round of funding in 2024 for applications. We have included our respective Ministers on this correspondence and would welcome the opportunity to discuss this aspect of funding with them and hear their views on our proposal.

There would also be the possibility to secure funding for such a project from the GAA nationally and also, private donors locally where there would be significant interest.

We believe that this would a first of its kind in Ireland in terms of joint co-operation between two local authorities, and three Gaelic Games Associations.

We hope that you deem merit in our joint proposal to you and would welcome the possibility of meeting the Chief Executives for each of the Councils to discuss formally and as a follow-on to make a presentation to both local Councils and the Councillors collectively.

Thank you and we look forward to meeting and discussing further.

Brian Griffin  (Chairperson Galway Camogie)
Paul Bellew  (Chairperson Galway GAA)
John Devlin (Chairperson Galway LGFA)