North County Leader

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Swords Karate Club Facing Homelessness

Swords KarateDermot O'Keeffe Sensei Karate Club Sword is pictured with, Kagawa Shihan from Japan after the recent Technical Seminar in Swords Karate Club. Kagawa Shihan 8th Dan is the Technical Director of JKS Karate worldwide.

Swords Karate Club which set up over twenty years ago in 1996, is now in danger of losing its base at Seatown Industrial Estate Swords.

The club originally set up home at Colaiste Choilm Secondary School Swords in 1996. It was a small club to begin with and quickly grew and had to move to a larger premises with larger rent. The club is well established in the community and has had lots of success world-wide, bringing the Olympic sport much attention locally and nationally.

The club was involved in the Brackenstown Community Sport and Development Association (BCSDA) and had been working over the years trying to secure a permanent residence, through engaging with the local council and local councillors. A venue and funds were decided and agreed that the club was to be located at Swords Manor. However as the recession hit, this fell through and the club moved into a new premises in Seatown Business Park in May 2011. Things where going well for the club until the Business Park went into receivership and was sold to a hedge fund. The club had signed a lease which ran out in May 2013. The club claims the new owners are looking for E32,000 in order for the club to sign a new lease for five years.

Marie Reynolds, Secretary and PRO of Swords Karate Club told the County Leader,” We began to contact the Council about things in February outlining our situation and they offered us a premises on North Street, but that premises isn’t suitable on account of it’s size and cannot accommodate the amount of members we have, plus there are no toilet facilities. There are several units for sale in Swords and we have asked the Council to buy them and we can pay them back in rent or make some kind of a deal, but they said they don’t do that. We contacted local councillor, Duncan Smith (Lab) who is lobbying on our behalf with the Council,” she said.

Cllr Smith told the County Leader, “The club is very important in the community. It has been serving the local people for over 20 years and is now on the verge of becoming homeless, due to a venture capital fund setting unaffordable rents. I’m appealing to any organisation or business in the Swords area who may have a space to rent to this wonderful club, to get in touch with the club or myself as soon as possible,” said Smith.

“This club helps over 120 mainly young people, teaching the discipline of karate which helps them in all aspects of their lives. I am working with the council in order to find a long term solution for the club, but they have said they have nothing at the moment. Swords is the second largest town in Ireland and needs a multi purpose sports facility with various facilities and rooms for a variety of clubs. We also need a public swimming pool in Swords and we are the only local authority out of the four in Dublin, that doesn’t have one. There is up to E3.8 million available in grants that could be used in delivering a multi purpose sports facility,” he concluded.