Minister opens new Belfast handball courts
The Sports Minister Carál Ní Chuilín and GAA President Aogán O Fearghail have opened the newly constructed Béal na Carraige Handball Courts in West Belfast.
Located on the site of Coláiste Feirste in the city’s Gaeltacht Quarter the new facilities will prove beneficial to the school population and to the handball fraternity across Belfast and beyond. They consist of two indoor handball courts, an outdoor facility, changing rooms and viewing galleries.
Current female World Champion Aisling Reilly, a past pupil of the college, joined the Minister and GAA President for the formal opening.
Welcoming the opening of the new handball courts the Minister said:
“I am impressed with the development of these wonderful facilities and am pleased that my department, through Sport NI, has been able to make a contribution towards their development. They will add to the sporting fabric of this area, which has suffered from under-investment and deprivation over many years.
“There has been a long and proud tradition of handball in Belfast and across the north and it is wonderful that our current World Champion Aisling Reilly has been able to join us tonight. I have no doubt that budding Aislings’ or Paul Bradys’ will be inspired by these facilities, which will provide a much needed venue now and in the future for training and competition, not only for our top handballers but also those who aspire to greater things, or who just wish to play for enjoyment. I am confident that these courts will encourage greater numbers into this great sport.
”The Minister stated that this development was part of a wider initiative under her departmental priorities. She said:
“This facility is an integral part of my commitment to promote equality and to tackle social exclusion and it is fitting that it is located in Belfast’s Gaeltacht Quarter on the site of an Irish language medium school. Initiatives such as Líofa have done so much to bring the language back into people’s everyday lives and the development of these handball courts will further enhance the development of the Gaeltacht Quarter and Irish language and culture in this area.”