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Proposed Portlaoise Indoor Sports Centre backed by all local councillors
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Proposed Portlaoise Indoor Sports Centre backed by all local councillors

Today’s (20/01/21 ) meeting of Portlaoise Municipal District saw all seven local councillors unanimous in supporting an indoor sports centre in Portlaoise. Councillor Caroline Dwane Stanley was at pains to point out that there is a great opportunity now to proceed with this project as there are sites available in the town that are more than suitable.

One of those sites is the land known as Tyrell’s. This parcel of land was purchased by Laois County Council two years ago for €1.4 million. It is located just off the Stradbally road opposite the JL Bradshaw & Co Ltd Motor Factors. The land, comprising of 26 acres, has a number of zoning designations including housing.

Councillor Dwane Stanley went further and affirmed her belief that it wasn’t going to take ten years to develop the Tyrell’s site. She affirmed that the councillors needed to be driving the bus on this project and not be the passengers.

The need for such a facility is self evident. The Portlaoise Panthers Basketball Club, for example, are looking for a new hall to cater for their huge playing numbers. They have 400 members approximately. On the latest ‘Live in Laois’ Podcast Jack Scully from Portlaoise Panthers recounted how a recent juvenile final involving the club had to be played in Clonaslee even though it was a home fixture. Panthers have posted a petition online here to help get their new home.

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Portlaoise Panthers Basketball Club is just one of many sports clubs in the county town that are in need of a venue

Indeed there are many sports clubs in our county town that have to play well outside of Portlaoise. An example is the Portlaoise Badminton Club that have to compete out in Vicarstown.

With all this in mind Councillor Catherine Fitzgerald was emphatic in her support of Councillor Dwane Stanley.

“Tyrell’s site is ideal. So safe for kids and students. …adjacent to (proposed) pedestrian and cycle ways. A ‘no brainer’

Councillor Noel Tuohy pointed out that Portlaoise’s population has now outstripped both Mullingar and Athlone and that we need to think big when it comes to sporting facilities in the town. Councillor John Joe Fennelly followed up with his support. He felt that all the local councillors should meet Laois County Council’s CEO ASAP on the issue.