EVERY little helps but Carrickmore vice-chairman Padraig McCallan is concerned about the potential effects of Brexit on the intended development of a major multi-sports facility in the area.
Carrickmore St Colmcilles are one of the beneficiaries of the recent announcement that amateur sporting clubs without a bar no longer have to pay rates – a positive step according to McCallan, who laments the lack of help afforded from the higher reaches of the GAA hierachy.
“Absolutely, we’re very happy with it. Any sort of saving at all in the current climate, especially with voluntary clubs like GAA, it’s a big benefit.
“The bottom line is, it’s like any club, it’s all about volunteers and donations. Every club struggles equally. It’s one big family but it doesn’t seem to stretch down to the clubs.
“You have to get on with it but more importance and help should be allocated to the clubs.
Located right in the heart of Tyrone and a traditional GAA stronghold, Carrickmore has also seen a recent resurgence in other sports – notably cycling, boxing and athletics.
With McCallan at its head, the Carrickmore Multi-Sports Group was formed last year with the expressed desire of securing funding for an all-encompassing sports facility.
That was before June’s European Union membership referendum, which resulted in a majority vote to leave the EU – and with development still in a preliminary stage, it comes as a potential barrier to Carrickmore’s ambitious plans.
“We’re in the process of trying to secure funding at this stage and we’re going down several different avenues.
“Brexit will have a big impact on it. That’s where the uncertainty comes from. We’re still hopeful of getting help.
“Brexit would reduce the EU funding and put more of a strain on government funding as well, which is where the unknown is. We don’t know exactly when it’ll happen either.”
St Colmcille’s clubgrounds had initially been mooted as the centre’s new location, which would house an indoor pitch for football, hurling and soccer, along with boxing facilities and three state of the art handball allies. A new gym, spinning room, hall, meeting rooms and running track are also part of the vision. McCallan is still confident that the vision can become reality, and he accepts that the site may be located elsewhere.
“It’s a substantial benefit if it goes ahead. It’s possibly on the current grounds or there may be grounds required.”
See this week’s Gaelic Life in stores or online here as we check in with Derrylin and Steelstown for their reaction to the new rates regulations.