Wednesday 17 January 2018

Fitzgerald questions real use of grant money

Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

MUNSTER secretary Pat Fitzgerald has raised doubts that grant aid allocated to Clare and Waterford for their county grounds was always spent where it was intended.

"I am somehow sceptical that this funding was at all times spent on such projects and I believe that, in future, before allocating such grants we should work with these counties to decide how these monies are spent and identify what issues or work we want prioritised," Fitzgerald said.

"To my knowledge any grants we received for specific infrastructure projects have all been allocated specifically to those projects," Waterford secretary Tim O'Keeffe replied last night, while Clare secretary Pat Fitzgerald said: "I'm really unaware what he is referring to but if he can provide us with specifics I am confident we can account for any grants we have received."

The provincial secretary, in his annual report, also questioned whether Munster needs another ground of 45,000 like the proposed redevelopment of Pairc Ui Chaoimh.

Fitzgerald said he recognised that Cork needs an updated stadium but said "this does not mean that a stadium facilitating huge attendances is required. A stadium with the most up-to-date patron and event management facilities will send out the positive message required. We are unique in that we have four major stadia and four other grounds with the ability to host events of 20,000-plus.

"Pairc Ui Chaoimh... finds itself in serious need of a major upgrade," he continued. "Financially this must not interfere with our other commitments towards games development and promotion, however.

"As a Council, in infrastructural terms, we must recognise that with limited resources it must be our priority to support Cork in a reasonable way financially to develop a stadium which gives safety and comfort the priority it requires.

"It is my view the Council must now prioritise and having supported other stadia with the exception of Killarney, these stadia and counties must accept that the Council has limited resources and support this prioritisation."

Fitzgerald has previously criticised the amount of games RTE are allowing to be broadcast live and raised the issue again, saying Munster Council should be directly involved in negotiations when the GAA's next TV deal is struck in late 2013.

"We need to be careful in determining the future of our games so that those patrons who directly support our games by attending them are considered first."

• Sunday's Waterford Crystal SH final, between Tipperary and Clare, is at 1.0 in Sixmilebridge.

Irish Independent

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