Hopes that ‘fresh start is coming’

An “amended funding model” for sports facilities in the Dungiven area will go before local councillors next week, giving fresh hope to campaigners.

The project came to a controversial standstill last December.

However, Causeway Coast and Glens Council has said “an amended funding model will be presented to Council on 26th January 2016 for consideration.”

Kieran McKeever from Dungiven and Area Sports Forum said: “The fact this is before Council gives us fresh optimism that a resolution can be reached. We hope it will be voted through, and we’ll get sports facilities for all members of the community. Hopefully, the fresh start is coming.”

According to Minister Ní Chuillín, who has pledged £2.5m towards the project, the complex could be built with no cost to ratepayers as funding from a separate grant could make up the £339,000 shortfall.

However, some unionists on Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council insist sourcing the separate grant would mean the council would have no money left for other projects.

Sinn Fein’s Sean McGlinchey hopes the move will “accommodate all the concerns raised.”

Dungiven Parish Priest, Fr Seamus Kelly, uses the sports facilities in Magherafelt three times a week to attend a boot camp.

“I am amazed at the facilities in Magherafelt and I’m disappointed there aren’t better facilities in Dungiven,” he said, and he hopes decision makers will help all residents, young and old.

“I am fully supportive of the community and what they are trying to do because the town needs every bit of help it can get,” said Fr. Kelly, who stated there are good relations between the churches in the town.

“The facilities are for everyone, Catholic and Protestant, and sport and health are common to all of us,” said Fr Kelly, adding: “I’d love to see the facilities here. The town deserves it.”