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GAA to seek long-term lease at Columb Barracks

Story by Paul Hughes

Friday, 10th January, 2014 10:41am

GAA to seek long-term lease at Columb Barracks

Tom Carr: money "spent exceptionally well" at Columb Barracks during 2013

Westmeath GAA officials are to meet with the Department of Defence at the end of January, to negotiate a longer-term lease of Columb Barracks, Mullingar.

County board chairman Sean Sheridan made the announcement at a meeting of the board in Cusack Park last night.

Tom Carr, Westmeath minor football manager and a member of the GAA's Columb Barracks management committee, briefed the meeting on developments during 2013.

He said that a significant amount of investment - money "spent exceptionally well" - had been made in weight rooms (both for adult players and underage development squads) and a purpose-built gym.

Mr Carr said that Columb Barracks - seen as a future Westmeath GAA centre of excellence - is kitted out to the standards expected by a professional rugby or soccer team.

He added that the barracks is open for the use of all sporting groups and clubs, and that bookings can, at the moment, be made through him or the county secretary, James Savage.

Mr Carr explained that there are plans to develop an electronic booking system through the Westmeath GAA website, where clubs and groups can book time in the barracks, much like golfers book tee times at a golf club.

Bookings will be taken for an as yet undecided "nominal fee" of, for example, €50 per session, during which time clubs will be allowed to make full use of the barracks.

"It's value you won't get anywhere else," the former Dublin footballer remarked.

He stipulated, however, that any club or group using the barracks must have a qualified instructor or coach with them at all times, particularly when it comes to the handling of weights.

"If you don't have a qualified person, we can get one for you," he added.

Mr Carr said that development of Columb Barracks will continue in 2014, while securing of a long-term lease would allow the county board to "take a longer, harder look" at redeveloping the facility into a centre of excellence.


Paul Hughes

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