The Vice Chair of City of Derry Rugby Club, Moss Dineen, says developing an iconic North West Centre for Sport and Well-being at Judges Road would send a massive message to the rest of the world that Derry is serious about playing its part in the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
Mr. Dineen said City of Derry will find out by the end of this month if its exciting proposal has been successful in making it through to the second stage of an application for millions of pounds worth of European peace money.
The club applied to the cross-border Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) for between £8m and £10m in January and, if successful, projects the new centre will be completed by 2020.
Mr. Dineen said the cross-code, cross-community and cross-border facility would be the first major EU-funded capital project realised in the North West since the Peace Bridge.
And with Ireland one of the hotly-tipped bidders for the 2023 World Cup, timing, of course, is everything.
“If we get this structure in place by 2020, which the Peace IV funding allows us to do, then it would send a massive message to the rest of Ireland and the rest of the world that this city is serious about the World Cup 2023 bidding, so that’s what we’re about,” said Mr. Dineen.
Back in September, Mr. Dineen joined the club’s Chair Tom Frawley in presenting the proposal to Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Business and Culture Committee. Mr. Frawley was then insistent the club ”fundamentally believes in our responsibility to make this a self-funding social enterprise” that can “wash its own face”.
That remains the case, as Mr. Dineen explained: “When we get this project in place it will be run by a social enterprise company that will embrace, hopefully, the North West Regional College (NWRC), Magee, Donegal GAA, ourselves, the council and the Western Trust, to actually run the project.”
Over recent weeks Mr. Dineen and his clubmates have been working to achieve cross-partisan support for the project from all political parties and none.
He said there’s also been a lot of community consultation in the wider Strathfoyle and Maydown area where the club is based.
“We’ve done the public consultation here in the club house and we’ve engaged with the local communities, Strathfoyle, Maydown, Westlake and Butler’s Wharf,” he said. “We’ve done about 140 to 150 door to doors.”