Trinity College’s proposed purchase of Iveagh Grounds sports facility is set to save a number of sports clubs from relocation according to the chairman of the Guinness Athletic Union.
The facility is currently owned by the GAU, who are a part of the Diageo group, and plays host to a number of sports clubs including St James Gaels GAA.
Eddie Tyrell the chairman of the Guinness Athletic Union, told The College View how the deal has stopped Diageo from getting rid of the historic sports ground.
“It’s terrific. Everyone’s in favour of it alright” said Tyrell. “It was a case of either, continue to stay here and rent and have our club or Diageo were going to get rid of it anyway.”
Tyrell outlined how the GAU had been given the use of the Iveagh Grounds by Edward Guinness during the 1920s in a trust, however, he explained that Diageo allegedly knew nothing about this trust and that they now wanted nothing to do with the sports grounds as it was “costing Diageo too much money.”
There had been a number of issues surrounding the deal between the two parties with the GAU originally having no say in the negotiations according to Tyrell.
“What happened was the company (Diageo) told us ‘this is what’s happening’ and we had no hand act or part in it and because we were members for the last 80 odd years we are not cooperating with Trinity until the company give us a position for negotiation and that eventually turned around. The company are going to support us for the first two years just to make sure that it works so an agreement was reached”
In an interview with the University Times last week, the Chief Financial Officer at Trinity College Ian Matthews outlined that negotiations would reach a conclusion in the next coming weeks and this sentiment was echoed by Tyrell with April 1st being expected confirmation date.
“We haven’t signed anything, began Tyrell…Trinity haven’t signed anything, we spent four hours yesterday, we’re spending two hours again today.”
We’ve meetings from practically now until April with them but we haven’t signed anything, we are heading into the direction of that but we still have a lot of roadblocks to cross.”
A spokesperson for Diageo told the Irish Times in June that they offered to provide “significant financial assistance to support the costs of transition over the next few years.”, which had previously been outlined by Tyrell.
Tyrell concluded by saying that Trinity’s ownership of the grounds was a “much better deal” than what they previously had with Diageo and that the college had promised that the grounds would always be used for sporting events in the future.