Last night we attended a meeting with Antrim and Newtownabbey Council Officers facilitated by Declan Kearney and Ciaran McCavana, which included all South Antrim GACs.
The meeting was dedicated to exploring better working relationships, improving access for Gaelic games, equity in investment and making ANBC sites more inclusive for our club members.
Our Chairperson articulated the needs of our members, issues and barriers experienced by our club over the last number of years and how Council could begin the process of removing these.
A number of small, quick wins were identified which will bring cosmetic change to the V36 site over the next few months which included better equipment and enhanced access, along with further commitment to exploring how specific Gaelic games sites could be developed as part of a wider strategy.
It is no secret that have lobbied and advocated for change since our inception and are delighted it has reached the stage where our governing body, local politicians and individual Gaelic games units are now addressing this collectively through a new strategic approach. We are cautiously optimistic that the necessary policies will be put in place over the coming years to remove institutional barriers and the level of discrimination Wolfe Tones has faced.
Member experience, delivering an appropriate programme of ‘home’ games, connecting with our community and making the next step in sports performance are key aims for 2024. This can only be achieved by appropriate access to facilities. It should be noted that ANBC doesn’t operate a single dedicated Gaelic games pitch across its entire area. We look forward to this changing in the time ahead.
All of this will be underpinned by a new periodic forum which will meet on a regular basis to explore previous agreements and ensure accountability in honouring them.