Irish GAA county bid to lease former British Army barracks as new training centre
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Irish GAA county bid to lease former British Army barracks as new training centre

AN IRISH GAA County Board have said they are in the 'early stage' of discussions with the Ministry of Defence to lease a former Army barracks as a new training centre. 

Down GAA said at a meeting with the County Committee last night, August 3, that approval for advanced negations with the MOD was secured.

If negotiations go ahead, Down will propose a lease of the former site of Abercorn Barracks in Ballykinler for the County Centre of Excellence.

The Abercorn Barracks have been in Ballykinler since 1901 and was a former internment camp during the War of Independence in 1919.

In November 2016, the Ministry of Defence announced they would sell off the site by 2018.

In a statement on their website, Down GAA said: "The early stage discussions between officials of Down GAA and MoD personnel have focused on the potential lease and development of part of the Abercorn Barracks site at Ballykinlar into a multi-purpose GAA complex.

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"All parties are working towards bringing this exciting plan to fruition.

"Ballykinlar has a vibrant GAA community and the local club facility had been a training base for Down senior teams for a number of years.

"If approved and progressed, the Ballykinlar Project will form an important part of a new Vision 2020 strategy for the county.

"While a new complex will cater for the training and administrative needs of Down teams in all Gaelic Games codes, it will also be a significant resource for the Ballykinlar club and the local communities."

In a statement, the Ministry of Defence said: "We can confirm that the MoD is in discussion with the Co Down GAA in relation to a proposed centre of excellence in the Ballykinlar area."