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End of golf club within range but Dublin GAA 'open to monthly deal'

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Spawell Golf Club manager Kevin Hughes

Spawell Golf Club manager Kevin Hughes

Spawell Golf Club manager Kevin Hughes

Dublin County Board has said it would be happy for a driving range in Spawell to run on a monthly basis after its lease ends at the end of September - but it does not want any long-term occupants.

Just under 1,000 people have signed a petition to keep the driving range open as golfers hit out at the decision to close it.

The 35-acre site of the Spawell complex, bought by Dublin GAA last year for a reported €9m, features a pub and hair salon as well as the Carr Golf Driving Range which will close its doors on September 30 when the lease runs out.

The Dubs' plan to develop a state-of-the-art training facility has sparked anger among the hundreds of golfers who use the range.

In a meeting last Thursday, management were informed no one had been lined up to take over the driving range when the current lease runs out.

Speaking to the Herald last night, county board chairman Sean Shanley said the club intended to develop the pitches as soon as they can.

Mr Shanley said the lease with Carr Golf ends at the end of this month, and the Dubs are happy not to have any new long-term lease as they look to push ahead with development.

However, Mr Shanley said the club would be open to short-term monthly leases at the driving range.

Range manager Kevin Hughes said golfers only found out recently that there would not be a new lease at the site.

Capacity

"The plan was that they would find someone else to take over when the lease ended, but they said that hasn't happened," he told the Herald.

"We only found out about this at a meeting on Friday.

"Golfers have been coming here for more than 40 years and we're at full capacity much of the time.

"We have 250 to 300 people here a day, so it makes sense for it to stay open."

The complex has more than 18 pitch and putt holes as well as a driving range with over 50 bays.

It is understood D'Arcy McGee's pub and the Spawell Salon located on the grounds will remain open as there are a number of years left on those leases.

At the time of the sale in early 2017, following a failed bid to purchase the complex in 2015, speculation that the grounds were to be used to develop a stadium with a capacity of 25,000 people were denied by GAA officials.

However, local golfers have reacted with anger once again at the latest move by the Dublin GAA to close the facility.

Luke Waldron, one of 74 members of the local D'Arcy McGee's Golf Society, said he was disappointed it was closing as "there is nothing else like this in the area".

"I couldn't be more annoyed at them," he said.

"They are always saying they're community focused and I can't see why they need to close it.

"The amount of people that use it is huge and there is a social element as well. I practise on it two or three times a week.

"During the summer it was out-the-door-busy every day.

"They have a pitch and putt club playing for 25 years who meet every Saturday morning and I think they should leave it as it is.

"And I think it would have gotten another lease holder."

Mr Waldron said local golfers were not the only ones affected as the driving range would regularly attract people from areas further afield including Tallaght and Crumlin.

An online petition to keep the driving range has gathered just under 1,000 signatures so far.


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