27 Nov 2021

Nightmare over for Longford architect Liam Madden as GAA apologises for suspending him in 1969

Appeal to An Bord Pleanala objecting to Pearse Park refurbishment plan withdrawn

Longford architect Liam ‘Vitruvius Hibernicus’ Madden is sleeping easily ahead of Santa’s arrival after he this week received a written apology 'as Gaeilge' from Longford GAA concerning his suspension from the association in 1969.

In a submission to Longford County Council, prior to the granting of planning permission for the Glennon Brothers Pearse Park refurbishment works, Mr Madden suggested that he ‘gained worldwide notoriety as the last man on this planet to have been suspended by the GAA under the infamous Rule 27 for watching a soccer match. And I have been unable to sleep since.’

Mr Madden subsequently called on An Bord Pleanala to refuse and overturn the decision of Longford County Council to grant planning permission for the Pearse Park project to proceed.

However, in a dramatic u-turn, he has formally withdrawn his appeal to An Bord Pleanala after Longford GAA Secretary Peter O’Reilly penned the letter of apology to him 'as Gaeilge' and Longford GAA also made a €100 donation to Mr Madden’s nominee of choice, which happens to be Longford Town FC.

An accomplished goalkeeper in both gaelic football and soccer, Mr Madden lined out with Longford GAA at senior inter-county level, Longford Slashers, St Mel’s College and Longford Town FC. He told the Leader that the apology, which he has since framed, is hanging proudly on the wall of his office.
“My nightmare has to come an end and I’m sleeping much better,” he revealed.

In his appeal to An Bord Pleanala, Mr Madden asked, “Why on earth should anyone pay €2,500,000 to fix a stand which shouldn’t have been built in the first place?” He also suggested the GAA should ‘spend €50k demolishing this Titanic and sell the steel for scrap’.

Pointing out that there were serious matters contained in his appeal, Mr Madden said his relationship with local GAA officials is good.

The withdrawal of the appeal clears the way for works to begin at Pearse Park and the possibility of the venue hosting the 2018 Leinster Championship quarter-final clash against Meath, scheduled for May 26/27.

That Longford v Meath game, pending the satisfactory completion of redevelopment work, would represent a significant economic boost to Longford GAA and to the town of Longford. Not to mention, the benefit of home soil for Denis Connerton and his team.

Longford GAA secretary Peter O’Reilly admitted they were relieved the appeal to An Bord Pleanala had been withdrawn and that the refurbishment project was back on track.

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