West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Omagh meeting supports exempting Amateur Sports Clubs from rates

Published: 12 February, 2014

Daithi McKay MLA addressed a meeting in the Strule Arts Centre, Omagh tonight (Wednesday 12th February) to highlight the Bill he is introducing to the Assembly to make Amateur Sports Clubs exempt from rates. Despite the atrocious weather, the meeting was well attended by a wide range of clubs representing the GAA, Soccer, Rugby and Tennis from throughout Omagh District.

Omagh Council Chairperson Marty McColgan who hosted the meeting said,

"If successful, the Bill to exempt Amateur Sports Clubs from rates would mean a massive boost to over 40 clubs locally and it was great to see so many of them represented tonight despite the atrocious weather conditions. Amateur sports clubs are already entitled to 80% Rate Relief which was introduced in recent years to support grass roots sport but in the rest of Ireland, land is exempt from paying commercial rates if it is developed for sport."

"Amateur Sports Clubs have seen their income severely reduced in recent years. In many rural areas clubs struggle to field a full team because young members have emigrated to find work in other countries. Because of the economic downturn clubs receive less financial support from local businesses many of which have seen profits reduced or have had to fold in an environment of reduced demand for their services."

Daithi McKay MLA said,

"I am bringing forward a Private Members Bill to the Assembly that will make Amateur Sports Clubs exempt from rates. I believe that this will help to keep many clubs afloat financially and it will also demonstrate that we recognise the contribution that volunteers in sports clubs make to society and their communities. I encourage everyone to support their local clubs by contributing to my consultation; I'm particularly seeking the views of sporting organisations, other groups and members of the public."