Green light for new sports centre in Killarney

The green light has been given for the country’s first fully adapted sports centre which will cater for people with, and without, physical and intellectual disabilities at the same time.

The €10m centre will be built on a 4.7 acre site at Dirreen, Killarney, where other sports facilities are already located, off the busy N22 Cork to Tralee road.

An Bord Pleanála has approved a planning application from the National Sports and Adventure Centre for the development.

The site is located between the Killarney Celtic AFC and Legion GAA club pitches, on the edge of the town, and the centre will also be home to the Kerry Stars Special Olympics club which has already raised €100,000.

Kerry County Council had previously granted planning but an appeal was lodged by Gillian Connolly, of Ardmoniel Heights, Killorglin, on a number of grounds including increased traffic congestion.

Welcoming the appeals board decision, project manager Paudie Healy yesterday said it would create a legacy for change and equal opportunity which was at the heart of the project, not only for Ireland but also internationally.

“The vision and driving force for this facility is breaking down barriers, creating a more inclusive world and establishing a benchmark for success across Ireland and Europe.”

Mr Healy said they aimed to promote social integration and enhance the quality of life of people of all abilities, through elite and leisure sport.

“The revolutionary element that sets this project apart in Europe from other facilities is accessibility, whereby every single person in society can enjoy any part of the centre,” he stated.

The campus will have the first European-designed international adapted adventure course, a large social hub with kitchen and hospitality facilities, a theatre and performance area, six-lane bowling alley and adapted changing rooms.

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