It’s the end of an era for Galwegians “not fit for purpose” Crowley Park following the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology’s acquisition of the grounds on Monday.
Galwegians Rugby Football Club president Carl Blake said the move was essential in securing a long-term future for underage and adult rugby across the club.
Minister for Higher Education, Simon Harris made the announcement yesterday with the Higher Education Authority providing €6.45m of the €8.95m price.
The 10-acre site was acquired by GMIT ahead of its transition to university status this May as the Atlantic Technological University (ATU).
A bid was submitted by GMIT in May 2021 with the offer being put to a vote at a Galwegians special general meeting later in the month, the sale was agreed with 99 per cent of club members in favour.
Galwegians Rugby Football Club will still have use of the current grounds for a few years, following an agreement with SMIT. A search for new grounds began several years ago but following the sale, efforts will be ramped up.
President of Galwegians RFC, Carl Blake said that there have been many fond memories had in the grounds over the years but that the sale was necessary.
“It’s been 60 years of being based in Crowley Park so lots of fond memories there over the years and emotional attachments.”
“However, the membership has long since gotten over that and accepted it’s not enough to just want to stay there. It’s just become not fit for purpose for our playing population.”
Mr. Blake also said he was delighted that the grounds will continue to be a resource for the community through the soon-to-be university.
“We are glad because we have been neighbours for so long, it will continue to be a resource for the community and educational infrastructure around Galway.”
Minister Harris was present at GMIT’s Galway campus yesterday and reiterated the Government’s commitment to developing third-level education in Ireland.
“Support for this acquisition demonstrates the commitment of this Government to advancing the role and ambition of our new Technological Universities and to driving regional growth and opportunities,” he said.
President of GMIT, Dr Orla Flynn said the expansion was necessary to deal with a projected increase in student numbers.
“Acquiring these lands will enable a safe expansion and development of Atlantic Technological University (ATU) in Galway City for the years ahead and facilitate projected growth in student numbers.”
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