At the recent A.G.M. of Manorhamilton Rangers AFC, North Leitrim Community Amenity Association Chairman Dave Cummins asked to address the delegates. He expressed huge frustration and dissappointment as he announced that the N.L.C.A.A. ,who provide training facilities for Manorhamilton Rangers and other user groups in North leitrim, woud be unable to avail of €77,500 allocated to it from the Sports capital programme in 2018 towards building a dressing room, toilets and a disabled facilities development.
Mr Cummins outlined that Covid had been a major factor with all facilities closed for large periods of time and and building activities severally restricted. He stated "we have been given a number of extensions to the allocation up to the end of September this year to draw down the allocation. Unfortuately with the pandemic we have been unable to fundraise the way we normally do and therefore are unable to source match funding. The cost of building etc has also risen during this period. We had initally been quoted €164,000 to complete the development but this has now risen substantially to over €210,000 which leads a large shortfall which our voluntary association are unable to meet. This will lead to us being unable to drawdown the allocation and losing same. Our facilities are badly lacking and presenlty we have no changing facilities etc. We are operating from a delapidated cabin. This is a widely used facility by the greater North Leitrim area and a huge asset to the community. It is an absolute travesty to lose it due to lack of available funds or means to acquire funds towards this new development."
Mr Cummins futher added that this scenario was being repeated up and down the country with clubs or community groups being allocated funding with huge fanfare and then unable to draw down such allocations due to costs and the completely changed landscape since the pandemic. Mr Cummins called on the Minister to revisit the way funding is allocated. He suggested that the full cost should be allocated from central funding with the grant allocated being provided by the department whilst the balance could come in the form of an interest free loan which clubs or community groups could repay over a period ot time. Sadly at this juncture despite the best efforts of our hard working community volunteers we are left with this situation. We have exhausted all avenues."
Manorhamilton Rangers Club Chairman Hugo Clancy expressed his huge disappointment also and shared with the sentiments expressed. As a club with over three hundred members , which is the main user of the facilities provdied by the N.L.C.A.A this has come as a hammer blow. Young players partaking in sport is huge now, considering the growing problems in relation to mental health and the need for social interaction, facilities like the one provisionally allocated are a must and are paramount to keeping people involved. The whole funding process needs to be revisited.