Trinity have been accused of having “shafted” the pitch and putt section of the Guinness Athletic Union (GAU) from their 17 acre grounds on the Crumlin Road, Dublin 12. Trinity purchased the land in November 2017, agreeing a deal that would allow the union to continue their use of the land for two years. The purchase is believed to have cost Trinity €2 million.
The land, which was purchased for the development of a new Sport and Recreation campus, required that after two years the club would become self-sustaining. During this time, Trinity took control, ownership, and management of the grounds. College also allowed the various sports groups under the union to enjoy the grounds for preferential rates.
Despite this agreement, the members of the pitch and putt club were told to cease activities on the ground in January. The members of the club were given three weeks to quit the grounds. Speaking to the Echo, their former Chairperson Owen Martin noted that they were “gutted”.
He also told the Echo that in January, the club enquired as to whether they could return to playing after the winter break. However, following this he noted that “the reply we got in emails from Trinity gave us three weeks’ notice, and our small clubhouse was gone”.
The clubhouse has been closed to the club since February 4. He recalled that “last summer, nine of the holes were closed down and the course wasn’t maintained for 10 months”. He noted that the club had shrunk in size, and “it was more the social aspect, with the ladies meeting up for a game and dinner on Wednesdays and Sundays”.
He concluded by noting that “we feel we have been shafted”.
“The GAU never considered us in the initial negotiations with Diageo, and Trinity aren’t interested.” Other sections of the GAU continue to be subsidised to play at the grounds. We accept we are gone. Members have already joined other clubs.”
The group are currently looking to have their fees refunded, which amounted to €80 until April 1. They also seek €150 for each member as a “moving on gesture”.
Following negotiations, which saw the pitch and putt club represented by committee representatives, “the concerns of all the sections were noted”. However, as negotiations progressed they “became more intense and were drawing to a close [when] it was made very clear to our representatives that Trinity had no intention of carrying on the running and maintenance of the pitch and putt course”.
They also told the Echo that they had been informed that there would be “no refund of fees and also no payment to join another club”.