Niall Quinn appeal for Kildare sports programme support

SPORTSMAN, Niall Quinn, has appealed to Kildare County Council to support future ventures of the Kildare Sports Partnership following the initial success of a programme to help unemployed people.

SPORTSMAN, Niall Quinn, has appealed to Kildare County Council to support future ventures of the Kildare Sports Partnership following the initial success of a programme to help unemployed people.

At the 26 March meeting of the Council, the former Republic of Ireland soccer international, told of the success of self development schemes for unemployed people in south Kildare.

He said a recent course, involving 21 males and two females, in Athy had been very successful.

Twenty three people took part in the sixteen week course and there was a lower than expected drop out, indicating its success. They expected 30% but nobody had dropped out from the course in the first five weeks, during which jockey, Johnny Murtagh, spoke to the participants.

Mr Quinn, chairperson of KSP, said they planned to have follow on courses and hoped the Council would support it in whatever way they could.

The chairperson, who was accompanied Sil Merrins, said the people who did the course had the potential to become leaders. “We can empower things and make brilliant things happen,” he said.

It is not all about money but about belief and harnessing things which already exist, said Mr Quinn, who added he was not talking to the Council looking for money.

He pointed to a similar experience with Sunderland FC.

He recalled one boy who was having a problem. They gave him an opportunity to sit in the press box and report. He is now a journalist.

Councillors congratulated KPS on their work.

Cllr Richard Daly said the Athy scheme was remarkable. “I thought there would be a 50% drop out.”

Cllr Liam Doyle said teachers would be best qualified to identify those vulnerable.

Cllr Mark Wall said some clubs cannot field U.14 teams due to drop outs and one study found that half of U.12’s had stopped sport and had taken to X Box. “No physical activity is dangerous,” he said.

County Manager, Michael Malone, said the Council recognised the work of the KPS and the role played by Mr. Quinn.

Mr Quinn said if people were dropping out of sport something needed to be done.

The meeting was told that KPS had been involved in a number of successful ventures, including creating Sli na Slainte walks in Kildare town and Derrinturn, a project for people with autism and a dancing project in Rathangan.

It is linking with Dublin local authorities to provide a walking and cycle route in St Catherine’s Park.

- Henry Bauress