Liberty Sports Pitch plans face possible upheaval

Residents of renovated housing at St Teresa’s Gardens face possible upheaval as plans for a new sports pitch have been unveiled.

The plans have sparked considerable controversy given the housing crisis – but a lack of green space in the Liberties has also caused outcry in recent years.

Liberties Sporting Coalition claim the average Dublin City resident has 70 per cent more access to green space than those residing in the Liberties area. A report from Dublin City Council in 2014 said the Liberties have fallen 86 per cent below international recommendations.

The coalition consists of sports clubs within the Liberties area who have been actively campaigning for improved sports facilities.

St Kevin’s Hurling and Camogie Club are among the groups involved.

“We do realise there is a housing problem but green space is also essential for residents in the area,” club secretary Patsy Kearns said. “The housing problem shouldn’t be all solved in Dublin 8 – there are a large number of schools with absolutely no green space for sporting activities.”

Kearns also emphasised the importance of involvement in sport in the community.

“Dublin 8 is an area which does have a large crime rate especially in young people aged 15 to 35. This is why sporting organisations are so important in helping to keep these young people off of the streets and out of trouble.

“There is a housing problem – yes, but helping to keep these young people from a life of crime is also extremely important,” Kearns said.

The proposed plans for the site include an astroturf pitch, gym, a 25m swimming pool, boxing hall and multi-use courts.

The plans were originally opposed in an effort to retain the site’s current industrial use. The zoning is currently in the process of being changed as of last summer.

“The masterplan, which includes over 100 new homes, is currently under construction by Dublin City Council.” explained Douglas Carson of Carson & Crushell Architects, the firm designing the new site.

“The depot land was rezoned for recreational amenity and open space use following successful campaigning in 2015 and is part of the current Dublin City Development Plan for 2016-2022.” Carson & Crushell Architects added.

The campaigns saw support from over 50,000 people, according to Liberty Saints Rugby Club secretary Peter Cunningham.

“The construction of the multi-sports pitch for the Euro 2020 games in Dublin is still an ambition of Sporting Liberties,” according to Carson & Crushell Architects.

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