A DEAL has been struck between the GAA, Ministry of Defence and Lisburn City council that will see a Gaelic football team continue to use Army land.
The agreement means St Patrick’s Club can use the pitch at Kirkwood Road for at least another 10 years.
Under the terms of the contract — which involves both the council and the club — the MoD will be paid £3,000 annually.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said: “The MoD is delighted to be able assist St Pat’s GAA club in Lisburn with the provision of an extended lease for its premises. This will hopefully help in the expansion of not only the club but GAA sports in the city.”
Lisburn City Council has, for over 30 years, had the use of the Ministry of Defence playing fields at Kirkwoods Road, under a licence agreement between the Council and the Defence Estates - which permitted the latter to take the lands back at very short notice.
Since 1995 St Patrick’s GAC has made use of the playing fields through the Council. In recent years the club has become the primary user of the Council facility.
Due to the short-term nature of the licence agreement between the Council and Defence Estates, and in particular the notice period, the Council was unable to invest in the long-term improvement of the facilities.
A spokesperson for Lisburn City Council said: “After discussions with St Patrick’s GAC, the Council earlier this year agreed to make a contribution of up to £30,000 toward the club refurbishing the changing provision at Kirkwoods Road.
“The Council has recently been informed that, after lengthy discussions, the Defence Estates are willing to enter into a 10-year lease agreement with the Council in respect of the site and it is anticipated that representatives from both organisations will shortly meet to finalise the details of this agreement.
“The Council would also intend to meet with representatives of St Patrick’s GAC on an on-going basis once the lease agreement is finalised.”