THE planned redevelopment of Warwickshire GAA's Páirc na hÉireann has been approved by Solihull Council paving the way for a new era for the GAA in Britain.
Unanimous support was granted at a planning committee for the new development to the south of the current site on Catherine-de-Barnes Lane.
It means that the future of the site has been secured, with two new pitches and a brand-new clubhouse facility joining the existing main pitch.
Warwickshire GAA Chairperson Michael Collins spoke to The Irish Post after the council meeting this evening.
He said: “It’s great news for the county, a huge relief to know we’ve secured the Páirc.
“It’s not just for the short term, this is for the generations to come who will be able to use the new facility.
“We have a way forward now with Highways England and although it’s going to be tough working around them over the coming months, by the end of next season we know that it will be well worth the effort.”
He added: “A huge thanks to all who have supported us to get to where we are now, including Jack Grealish, Saqib Bhatti (the local MP for Meriden) and Conor McGinn (MP for St. Helens North) who has been a constant support throughout.”
Conor McGinn MP, Chair of the All Party Group on the Irish in Britain and prominent GAA member, said: “This is great news for the GAA in Britain and for the Irish community in the West Midlands.
"These new facilities will ensure our games can continue to thrive, especially at grassroots level in Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Coventry."
He added: “We had really strong cross-party support in the region for the GAA, with Conservative Mayor Andy Street, local MP Saqib Bhatti, former Transport Minister John Spellar MP and Labour MP Jack Dromey all getting behind our efforts.
“It has been a long, hard journey and this is an enormous achievement by Warwickshire GAA. I pay tribute to the leadership of Michael Collins and the county board for their dedication and relentless campaigning.
“I know that Highways England are fully engaged and supportive of getting these facilities in place, and I am confident the constructive relationship between them, the local council, the community and the GAA will continue as we quite literally build the future of Gaelic games in the new Páirc na hÉireann.”
The approval means that work can finally get underway with Highways England starting immediately on the upper pitch at the Páirc as they continue their activities along Catherine-de-Barnes Lane setting the foundations for the new M42 spur road.
Above all else, it means the home of the GAA in the Midlands has a bright future to look forward to.