Thursday 17 January 2019

'Damn right, I'd protest' - Room To Improve's Dermot Bannon supports local GAA club against MetroLink plans

Dermot Bannon
Dermot Bannon
Denise Calnan

Denise Calnan

Ireland's most well-known architect and Glasnevin native Dermot Bannon said he is supporting Na Fianna GAA Club against the MetroLink plans.

The north Dublin GAA club outlined their serious concerns after plans for the €3bn MetroLink announced on Thursday revealed major disruption to their pitches.

The club caters for 125 teams and has one of the largest club membership in the country.

The plans for the capital's new MetroLink route means they will lose their main pitch on Mobhi Road for for up to six years, during the construction phase. They will also lose two all weather pitches for the same period.

"Damn right, I'd be part of a protest," Dermot Bannon told RTE Radio One's Ray D'Arcy Show, when asked if he would join a movement in support of the GAA club.

"Every child in Glasnevin is part of Na Fianna.

"It's unusual in Dublin, I think, that every GAA club has such a massive hold in the community.

"My daughter, at the age of five, all she wanted to do was go to Na Fianna, and I know that's because she saw some of the older girls in the jerseys and that, for her, was a rite of passage."

Bannon slammed the choice of route for the city-airport link, describing it as "low hanging fruit".

"They're saying six years [for construction works], but six years is a lifetime for a child.

"There's nothing like the magic of walking down Mobhi Road and all the four, five and six years olds going down together. There's hundreds of them," he continued.

"There must be 300 kids in the nursery and they're all so excited.

"I just think there are loads of other spaces they can go. I think this is low hanging fruit. On the map it looks perfect and makes sense, but when you dive into the heart of a community and takes what binds a community together...

"One of the reasons we love living in the Drumcondra-Glasnevin area is because of Na Fianna."

The MetroLink project, which is due for completion in 2027, will see trains running every two minutes from the city centre to Dublin Airport.

Na Fianna said in a statement that the first contact they had with Transport Infrastructure Ireland was just last week.

"The first contact that the Club had with TII was through a phone call received at approximately 4.30pm on Friday 16th March, bank holiday weekend," the club statement read.

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