By Harry Shorthose
FOR years, Hanover Harps have been struggling with a dog excrement problem at The Plots. People walk their dogs around the pitch and let them do their business on the pitch. Even the addition of a fence around the pitches hasn’t helped the problem. At nearly every home match, the game has to be stopped for somebody from the club to scoop up excrement off the pitch. It’s a situation that has escalated over the past number of years and Club Secretary, Pa Dowling says that they aren’t getting any help from the local council and that action needs to be taken.
“Ever since we moved there in 1997 it’s been a problem. The council is no good, there’s very little done. They had a campaign about six or seven years ago and they put up signs but dogs can’t read signs. There’s a new pathway in there now where people go walking the whole time but it doesn’t stop anything. It took a long time to get the fence sorted, the council wouldn’t help so we had to go to a residents meeting in St. Mary’s Park to try get that fence up. The council said they’d help us out if we got permission from the residents themselves. To be fair, they gave us €4,500 towards the fence but the problem is some of the council live in that area and they aren’t willing to step up because they’ll lose the votes of everyone around them. They eventually let us put up the fence but it’s mad how many bullets we’re dodging every single year, eventually something is going to happen somewhere. We played Kilree a couple of weeks ago and the game was stopped for ten minutes in the middle of the game because Gaga [David Corcoran, club man and Assistant Manager] had to go out with a shovel and collect lumps in the middle of the pitch, it’s ridiculous. People are letting dogs out during the day there and all of us are working and can’t be up there 24/7 policing. Technically it’s council land too, we don’t own it and it’s a public walkway so it’s not an enclosed ground. So, we have the issue of how do you stop people? The thing is that people are actually going and putting the dogs in over the fence and they can’t get out then. The fence is only 1m high because that’s all that we could afford. At this stage, The Plots is getting too small for us anyway with all the juvenile teams we have out on a Saturday, plus we’re hoping to get a second junior team back next season, we’re hoping to have an over 35’s team for the summer and a women’s team so the best thing the council could do is give us a bigger piece of land just outside the town.”