By Damian Dolan
GAA president John Horan has applauded the London county board for resisting the temptation to use money from the sale of New Eltham for the refurbishment of the clubhouse at McGovern Park, Ruislip.
Last week it was confirmed that London GAA had been successful in obtaining £200,000 in funding from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
That comes after Croke Park’s management committee committed a sum of £170,000 to the project.The total cost of the refurbishment is yet to be confirmed, but London GAA will pick up the bill for the balance. However, a good proportion of that balance has already been raised.
It’s hoped that work on the clubhouse will commence by January 2019.
London chairperson John Lacey confirmed the DFA’s funding approval to delegates at last week’s emergency county board meeting at Ruislip.
Speaking at the recent All-Britain Competition at Tir Chonaill Park in Greenford, Mr Horan said: “Our investment in that [the clubhouse refurbishment] is testament to the confidence we have in what’s going on over here.”
The sale of New Eltham in 2016 generated £5.5m for London GAA, with a substantial amount (believed to be in excess of £3m) going towards the development of McGovern Park.
The remaining balance is being earmarked for the establishment of a centre of excellence in London and the board has already considered two venues, although both were dismissed as being too small.
Horan added: “That’s testament to the current leadership that they didn’t jump in, just grab the money from New Eltham and do up the clubhouse in Ruislip. They’ve actually gone to try and fund it independent of that fund.
“Pitches and landbanks are key to the organisation of Gaelic Games over here on this side of the water.
“It shows they have an ambition to use that fund in a way that will be beneficial long-term, rather than just throw it into the building.
“That gives us a confidence that people are thinking strategically and in a positive manner.”
The refurbishment would see Ruislip able to cater for functions in excess of 300 people, with a view to opening the clubhouse up to use within the community at large. It will also bring it in line with the rest of McGovern Park which was officially opened in May 2016.