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Disarray over €2m Longford facility

Plans for the development of a new €2m county training facility in Longford have been thrown into some disarray by a submission lodged to the local county council by the board's development officer Seamus Quinn.

The former secretary, who stepped down in accordance with the five-year rule at the end of last year, lodged the submission in a private capacity on February 1.

It is understood that the submission from such a prominent figure highlighting issues with a board project has caused shock among executive officers.

Under the company name Master Consultancy Bureau, Quinn raises a number of points in his submission about the suitability of the site in Kilashee.

Longford chairman Pat Cahill insisted yesterday that Quinn's submission should not be termed "an objection" and merely made a number of points about the development.

"I'd be clear in stating that this isn't an objection. Seamus Quinn has made a submission in a private capacity, not as development officer of Longford County Board," he said.

Cahill added that the matter had not been raised at executive level in Longford because there has been no meeting since the submission was lodged.

Longford GAA submitted the plans before Christmas and are expecting a decision in the next two weeks. The initial plans for the development were driven by Cahill, who has been chairman for the past two years, and central council delegate Frank Kiernan, who served as development officer up to last year's convention.

As secretary, Quinn would have worked closely with Cahill in the two years since Cahill took over as chairman from Martin Skelly.

Quinn has a background in engineering and in his five-page submission he raises concerns about the site, which he contends could be prone to flooding. Concerns about the layout of the pitches are also raised.

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The development on 41 acres, which were purchased late last year, consists of three new full-sized training pitches, a running track, a two-storey clubhouse with eight dressing-rooms and additional physiotherapy, first-aid, referee and equipment rooms.

The plans were launched in November in the presence of GAA president Christy Cooney and phase one of the project is hoped to be completed by 2011.

Modern GAA training facilities have either been completed or are under construction in a large number of counties.

One of the biggest under development is in Tyrone, where the fundraising arm, Club Tyrone, is overseeing a huge project in Garvaghy. Club Tyrone raised some £270,000 in 2009 which goes towards the running of county teams and the Garvaghy project.

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