New Stadium Update From Ian Harkin

On the 6th of June we received the official approval of the allocation of a Government grant, subject to a number of legal processes, we effectively could start work any day but we would not be able to draw down the Government funds until the legal requirements are completed. The application that was approved was for a build cost of €5.7m, €3.991m of that is from the Government, €0.5m from the Donegal County Council and €0.5m from the FAI, we then were required to raise €0.7m. The Government grant is a 70% funding facility which is payable after the monies have been spent so we need to have cash in the bank to start the project. We began that process with our draw last year and a golf event in London.

The legal process involves the Chief states solicitor’s Office getting a charge on the land in Stranorlar, because the lease now only has 15 years remaining we are required to get an extension on that lease in excess of 25 years,  this will now be presented at this month’s Council meeting. In addition to that we have secured a bank facility from the Western Development Council last year for €1m to fund the cash flow of the monies from the County Council and the FAI who will be paying us over 10 years, this too will have to be reapplied for as it has been some time since it was granted. We have also secured a facility from a subcontractor for €0.5m allowing repayments on their final installed payment over 10 years. All of this work has been completed by the Stadium Committee and we are extremely grateful for their efforts, their voluntary efforts have saved us over €100,000 in professional fees which we would have otherwise had to pay, it cannot be understated the efforts the team have gone to and how grateful we are.

In July we were asked by the Government to review our budget costings as our previous numbers were over a year old and to submit a revised application. On average the forecasted cost has risen by 25% and the revised costs for the stadium are now €7.3m. We have requested an increase of €1.1m from the Government Grant bringing us up to €5m. Their key request to us now is to provide our proof of matching funding, the element we must now fund has increased from €0.7 to €1.2. We still have our €0.5m facility from our subcontractor, we now need to raise €0.7m in cash, once we have hit the €0.5m mark we have committed that we will commence work.
This past number of years we have been receiving derogations on our annual facilities licencing for Finn Park because of the promise to move to the new stadium. We are also spending significant funds annually to maintain the old crumbling infrastructure. Every time there is heavy rain the clubhouse floods, our floodlights are over 20 years old and the electricity bill for them is astronomical each month. Our prefab changing rooms were only meant to be a short term solution during Covid and they are becoming tired.
We have a once in a lifetime opportunity now to create a real piece of legacy for the people of Donegal, we are setting up a committee specifically for fundraising (separate to the development committee and main club) and we are asking anyone who wishes to join that team please contact [email protected] . The committee will have full autonomy on their fundraising separate from the club with their own banking facilities to separate from the operational running of the club. In the coming weeks we will be launching our main fundraising initiative and we will be asking for your help to spread the word wide and far.  We will also provide contact details for people who wish to leave larger legacy donations, or naming rights for stands. We foresee this committee to be running constantly into the future, investing each year in growing the infrastructure of the club to serve the people of Donegal.
We are a supporters owned and run club, representing our County on the national stage, we want to remain this way, community focused delivering the pathway for kids from our county to play elite football at the highest level at home and abroad. We need your help, please support in any way you can.