Louth football is coming home

Louth GAA is finally coming home to Dundalk after clearing a major hurdle on Monday morning in their bid to build a new stadium when Louth County Councillors voted overwhelmingly to pass the motion for the transfer of land at DkIT to Louth GAA.
A sale was agreed for €400,000 which gives Louth GAA almost ten acres to work on for their stadium project which is expected to cost between €6m and €8m. DkIT already have just over two acres beside the site which means that the area of the new site will be approximately 12.14 acres.
The decision means that almost 60 years after the closure of the Athletic Grounds in Dundalk, the town will house the county ground once again with the plan to have it in use by 2020.
The Louth GAA County board took a major step towards finding a new home in September when they unanimously endorsed the purchase of a site adjacent to the old Heinz factory on the Inner Relief Road. The twelve-acre site consists of approximately nine acres which belong to Louth County Council and approximately three acres which belong to DKIT.
The first stage of the development will allow a capacity of 12000 into the ground although eventually there would be a capacity for 22000 when the development is finished.
However, despite approval from Louth County Board, Louth County Council and DKIT there had been a stumbling block to the ambitious plans with news that a number of councillors had voiced concerns about the amount of money being received for the land owned by the council.
Sinn Fein councillors along with a number of Drogheda councillors raised concerns about the project and had indicated that they were set to vote against the ambitious plans for a stadium in Dundalk. Councillors were due to vote for the proposals at October’s monthly council meeting but the topic was taken off the agenda at the last minute to give the steering committee who are in charge of delivering the stadium more time to listen to councillors concerns. Last month the topic was once again taken off the agenda due to a technicality but on Monday morning the motion was heard and quickly passed by the vast majority of councillors. In total 22 councillors voted for, one against while six were absent.
Speaking after the vote was passed independent TD Peter Fitzpatrick expressed his delight with the news.
“This is a great day for all Gaels in Louth. We have had to negotiate some road-blocks along the way but we’ve got there in the end and this is undoubtedly a great day for GAA in Louth. We’ve been waiting for this day for almost sixty years since the old Athletic Grounds closed and the new pitch will be open to all men, women and children in County Louth.
I believe this will help improve our performances on the pitch and improve standards from the ground up. Louth GAA desperately needed this facility and deserves it.
I have been working together with Louth GAA, Louth County Council and the DKIT for some time now and I am thrilled that GAA officials can now proceed with their plans to build a new state of the art County Grounds. It is expected that June 2020 is the target day for the stadium to officially open. I want to thank the councillors and Louth County Council for helping this project get across the line. The council valued the land at €650,000 and they sold it to Louth GAA for €400,000 which I think is fair. There is still a lot of hard work ahead of us but I believe that once we get the planning permission early in 2019 we will start the process of filling the land to raise it up to the required level and then work can begin in earnest,” stated Peter.

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