Press Release: Cllr Kennedy Motion Calling For Replacement Of Old Athletics Track in UCD Passed Unanimously

The motion submitted by Cllr John Kennedy (Fine Gael, Stillorgan Ward) calling for an effective replacement for the previous athletics track at UCD has been passed unanimously by councillors of the Dundrum Area Committee of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council this evening (November 6th).

Cllr. Kennedy stated: “The sudden closure of the athletics track six years ago represented a colossal blow to athletics activity not just for UCD and for the local community generally, but also for Olympic sport on a national level. The impression given at the time was that the closure was intended to be a temporary one. Yet there seems to have been a sense of palpable resignation in recent years that this has assumed the shape of a permanent development. It is beyond time to counter that assessment.”

He continued: “Clearly when the track was first closed there would have a difficulty in sourcing requisite funding generally in 2011 and 2012 due to recessionary pressures. However, evidently the public finances and the wider economy have recovered sufficiently since then and as a consequence a goal to construct a new facility is obviously more viable.”

He outlined: “The motion calls upon relevant stakeholders Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, local athletics clubs (including UCD AC and Dundrum South Dublin), Athletics Ireland, the OCI, as well as Government Ministers with Sport as part of their remit to engage seriously and proactively on a collective goal to replace the track. The terms of the motion outline that the track can be located within the Stillorgan, Dundrum or Glencullen-Sandyford wards. I also supported the inclusion of a new 400 metres track within the council’s latest Sports Facilities Strategy as recently presented to councillors. ”

He concluded: “The Olympic movement in Ireland was greatly assisted by the construction of the original Belfield track in 1977 as launched by the then Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave. It is galling to think that there was a superior facility for athletics within the community 40 years ago that doesn’t exist today. In particular, the athletes from the student body of Ireland’s largest university, UCD, deserve better. I trust that the Minister Shane Ross TD will take heed of the unanimous view expressed tonight by local councillors, and act accordingly given that it is both a matter for his constituency Dublin Rathdown and for his Ministerial portfolio also.”