The Workers’ Party has criticised the government for allocating €500,000 to redevelop Gaelic Park in New York, as announced by Tánaiste Micheál Martin, while continuing to neglect sporting facilities at home.

David Gardiner, Workers’ Party representative for Palmerstown-Fonthill, said: “The decision by the Irish government to spend €500,000 of the taxpayers’ money on redeveloping a stadium in the United States is a strange one considering the state of some of our own sports grounds.”

“Many League of Ireland grounds, for example, are in dire need of redevelopment. A number of the opening fixtures of the 2023 season have been sell-outs. However, stadiums do not have the facilities to provide for all would-be spectators nor for clubs to make the most of the boost in attendances.”

“Though South Dublin County Council are close to finishing the fourth stand in Tallaght Stadium which tenants Shamrock Rovers will make use of, it is not clear exactly how or when the other three big Dublin clubs will be able to avail of the support promised to them by Dublin City Council to redevelop their grounds. If Micheál Martin and the Irish government want to support the redevelopment of sports grounds, this is the sort of thing that they should be focusing their efforts on.”

“A recent incident that sums up the state of our sporting facilities occurred last November, when football supporters in Limerick’s Market’s Field had to be evacuated from a stand in the middle of a match due to health and safety concerns over structural issues.”

“At grassroots level, local side Palmerstown FC have been exploring the possibility of securing the use of an astro pitch in Glenaulin Park. Meanwhile, Tallaght Town FC have been refused permission to build such a pitch of their own. Sorting out projects like these, and there are no doubt countless examples of them across all sports throughout the country, would be welcome news to the many communities nationwide looking for improved sporting facilities.”