Solutions still being sought for Bohs pitch problems
With Wexford Bohemians facing increasing pressure to come up with the funds to purchase their current home at Drinagh, Fine Gael Dáil candidate Verona Murphy has called for more to be done to assist clubs that find themselves in similar situations.
In recent weeks, it emerged that the owner of the lands currently occupied by Bohs is seeking to sell and while the club have been approved in principal for a €125,000 loan to make the purchase, this was only granted on the basis that two people sign as personal guarantors.
Ms Murphy has made a submission on behalf of the club to the draft Sports Action Plan 2020-2022, proposing that 'action be taken to assist sporting clubs in purchasing land by means of guarantee as they are excluded from accessing grants such as Sports Capital Funding without ownership or long term lease agreements'.
The Dáil candidate, in conjunction with Bohs Chairman Nicky Hynes, has also written to the FAI, Sports Ireland and Minister of State Brendan Griffin TD to ask for their support and she says that 'it is crucial to effect a change in policy at national level as many clubs find themselves stuck in no man's land and their growth and development is stagnated as a result.'
Chairman Nicky Hynes has once again expressed fears that Wexford could lose another sporting institution if the situation persists.
'Wexford town has lost soccer clubs in the past number of years already purely due to this reason,' he said.
'Park Hotspur, a club with a very long running history, ceased as a club only six years ago due to a lack of facilities and Wexford Albion's Mens and Under 18's team also ceased two years ago due to a lack of facilities.'
'Albion currently operates as an under-age club from their facilities in Kennedy Park which are not large enough to facilitate adult soccer.'
'This has had a massive effect on a large number of families throughout the Wexford town area.'
Ms Murphy says that time is of the essence to save Wexford Bohs and she is actively engaging with interested parties with a view to securing a guarantor. She also criticised Wexford County Council's inaction in the case.
'Unfortunately time is of the essence in this case,' she said.
'This community cannot be left without a club; over one hundred families would be affected from its demise. From a local perspective it is frustrating the elected representatives cannot seem to come together to affect a change in policy at Wexford County Council level to assist as guarantors for financially viable clubs.'
'On one hand we are trying to get people to be actively involved in sport and exercise yet on the other hand little is being done practically to enable this from a soccer perspective.'