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GAA club to lease barracks from British Army base - move part of 'vision for county'

Plans to base a GAA training centre at the site of a former British Army barracks in County Down have moved a step closer.

In an announcement on their Facebook page, Co Down GAA confirmed its committee had approved advanced negotiations to base their new 'centre of excellence' at the British Army's Abercorn Barracks in Ballykinler which has been on the site since 1901.

The move would see the club lease part of the facility from the Ministry of Defence.

In their statement, the club said early discussions with the Ministry of Defence had focused on the "potential lease and development of part of the Abercorn Barracks site at Ballykinlar into a multi-purpose GAA complex" and that "all parties are working towards bringing this exciting plan to fruition".

The statement goes on: "Ballykinlar has a vibrant GAA community and the local club facility had been a training base for Down senior teams for a number of years.

"If approved and progressed, the Ballykinlar Project will form an important part of a new Vision 2020 strategy for the county. While a new complex will cater for the training and administrative needs of Down teams in all Gaelic games codes, it will also be a significant resource for the Ballykinlar club and the local communities."

In a statement to the Belfast Telegraph, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence said: "We can confirm that the MoD is in discussion with the Co Down GAA in relation to a proposed centre of excellence in the Ballykinlar area."

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