Kieran McKeever.
Kieran McKeever.

Clubs in Dungiven are hoping there will be a change of heart surrounding the decision to put the brakes on a multi million pound sports complex for the area at a special meeting to discuss the matter this week.

A recommendation to proceed with the project was voted down by some unionist councillors at Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council in mid-December, causing outrage in Dungiven among sports clubs.

Sports Minister Carál Ní Chuilín said her department had committed to funding of £2.5 million towards the project, while the remaining funding needed to deliver the project totalled £339,000. She said a grant for that amount had been approved by the regulator of the Landfill Community Fund, but required Borough Council agreement.

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council has called a special meeting of Council tomorrow evening to discuss two items, including the decision in relation to Dungiven sport and leisure facilities.

Dungiven and Area Sports Forum spokesperson. Kieran McKeever said local clubs and residents hope “the right decision” can be reached.

“We all hope they see some common sense and do the right thing, which is to provide sports facilities, but we’ll just have to wait and see the outcome of the meeting. The fact they are having a meeting and discussing it makes us slightly optimistic. We believe there’s still a chance the project will be delivered.

“We hope the councillors will hear what we’ve said, and listen to the community and to our children and see that there is no need for politics in sport, and grant us the facilities.”

Sinn Fein councillor Sean McGlinchey, a member of Causeway Council, said: “Hopefully, there will be some compromise and a bit of common sense, but we will have to wait and see. Hopefully, the right decision can be made, and we can move on and have a better working relationship”.

Sports Minister Carál Ní Chuilín expressed disappointment some councillors voted not to proceed with the project. She said she believed the decision “sends out the message that for some within the new Causeway Coast and Glens Council the area is not open to doing business”.

The other item on the meeting’s agenda is about a Somme Working Group.

It is not known if discussion regarding the Dungiven sports project will be behind closed doors, as it has previously.