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Financial fears for Clare sports clubs after lockdowns

A NUMBER of sports clubs in Clare could “go to the wall,” after being unable to fundraise during the pandemic, a local councillor has warned. Councillor Mark Nestor told the May meeting of Clare County Council that while everyone welcomes the fact that clubs are allowed to return to some of their activities, concerns are mounting over their financial viability in the aftermath of the lockdowns. “It’s great that clubs can now go back to their activities,” he said. “That’s a very welcome thing, but some have been in touch about their rental costs when it comes to accessing facilities. It’s particularly true for soccer clubs. For example, they might have to rent twice in the week with training and then for their games. In some cases, they simply cannot meet the financial costs. That’s down to the fact they haven’t been able to fundraise for over a year. Some clubs have informed me that they will go to the wall. This is a serious issue and I’m asking what the council can do in terms of reducing the costs they face in accessing facilities.”

Responding to Councillor Nestor’s concerns, Chief Executive Pat Dowling said the matter was “an ongoing issue”. “I think it’s particularly soccer clubs that are affected, because that’s one of the largest sports in terms of participation,” he said. “The thing is they all have parent organisations. It’s very easy to run to the local authority, when they should be going to their organising body to make representations there. A lot of clubs are being supported already by Clare County Council. If there is something we can do, we’ll consider it within the Ennis Municipal District. This is something we can discuss further there.”

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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