The community in Dungiven are determined to fight back, after Unionist Councillors in the Causeway Coast and Glens Council once again said ‘no’ to a multi-million pound sports complex in the town.
The project, costing £2.5 million has all of the funding in place, but Unionist Councillors are sticking by the current moratorium on the development of all sports facilities in the Council area.
Dungiven and Area Sports Forum spokesperson Kieran McKeever said it was a “very convenient” position to hold, and one that made “no sense”.
He continued, “The Sports Centre in Dungiven is part of a two stage project and the first stage in Coleraine is nearing completion, yet the Dungiven stage has been stopped.
“It makes no sense. The funding is in place and the shortfall has been covered, it simply needed the Council agreement.
“There have been comments made that it’s costing the ratepayers money, but the project itself is fully funded.
“It is the audits and meetings required by Council in debating the project that have cost the ratepayers money. It’s nearly going to cost more by the time all the wrangling has been done.
“And we are not giving up. We are going to fight for what we deserve, which is a sports facility fit for purpose, for all of the community to use.
“Dungiven is a strong community and we will stand strong together. There will be a public meeting next Monday at St. Canice’s football club at 7.30pm so the public can give their views.”
Donna O’Connor, who’s son Ryan is a double amputee and was involved in the planning process of the new facility, said, “I am so angry today. At the past meetings I was frustrated and disappointed but now I am angry.
“The current facilities are not fit for purpose, and the Disability Discrimination Act is in place so that access can be given to all. But Ryan cannot use the centre properly as it stands. He has hopes and dreams to one day be a Paralympian but how can he train for that if he cannot even get in the door.
“We will go down every avenue available to us to make sure the new complex is built. At the minute that means re-organising a legal argument, and I will be at the meeting on Monday too. It’s not just about Ryan, although of course I am fighting on behalf of my son; but it’s for the whole community.”