IT is time Limerick City and County Council tog out and do their bit for local soccer.
That was the view from Fine Gael councillor Sarah Kiely at this Monday’s Metropolitan District meeting.
The City East representative asked the local authority for an update regarding the progress on the acquisition of the Markets Field, which is is currently in the custody of the Limerick Enterprise Development Partnership (LEDP).
Speaking in County Hall this week, Cllr Kiely praised the LEDP for its fantastic work supporting groups, initiatives, and organisations in education, employment, and funding requirements.
“They have made a difference across Limerick for many years in communities most in need,” she told council members. “They have truly made a difference to so many and continue to do so everyday without fanfare and seeking thanks.”
However, Cllr Kiely made clear, the one thing multi-stakeholder local partnership wasn’t intended to be is a stadium management company.
“The undertaking is not an easy one and the team have faced lots of challenges that take them away from the work in their mission statement. They have had to make significant investment in the stadium and we all know they have faced challenges.”
In recent weeks, it was announced that Treaty United FC was acquired by former Republic of Ireland women’s international and current Treaty United FC player Ciara McCormack in partnership with a Canadian-based investment group led by Tricor Pacific Capital Inc.
Cllr Sarah Kiely is of the view that it is now time for Limerick City and County Council to step up and take the offer on the table from the Canadian investors.
“With the new investment in Treaty United, it is high the time we did our bit. I understand talks have taken place over the last 12 months.
“We in this chamber were given a commitment that this issue would be concluded by the end of this year,” she added.
In response to a question from Labour Party councillor Conor Sheehan, the Council said it is continuing its engagements with the LEDP and relevant stakeholders in relation to the future of the Markets Field Stadium.
“This has included the new owners of Treaty United and the FAl. There is no outcome on these at this point but engagement will continue with a view to a sustainable outcome,” the local authority revealed.
Cllr Kiely went on to point out to the Council executive that Wexford FC issued a statement from Wexford County Council that they will enter a partnership with South East Technological University and a new stadium will form part of ambitious plans for the area.
“With this in mind, and to secure the future of soccer in Limerick for both men and women, I am urging the director to take the offer from LEDP of the stadium for free.
“It would secure the future of the stadium and allow for the refurbishment and possible development. The Council will be best placed to apply for capital funding and take charge of this iconic project. It could be a game changer and show our commitment as a Council and as a city to Treaty United and to the wider soccer community,” she concluded.