Government announce €10m grants for the Sportsground and RDS, but FAI awarded just €2m

The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport have announced a series of provisional grants totaling over €77million as part of the new Large Scale Sport Infrastructure Fund .

Connacht's Sportsground is set for a major redevelopment.
Connacht's Sportsground is set for a major redevelopment.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

PROJECTS TO REDEVELOP the RDS and Connacht Rugby’s Sportsground are both in line to receive €10 million in Government funding following the announcement of the first set of allocations under the new Large Scale Sport Infrastructure Fund (LSSIF).

In total, 25 individual projects are set to receive funding of varying amounts which total €77.4m. The grants are currently provisional, and all projects will undergo further assessment and a due diligence procedure before the funding is confirmed and released.

The funding was announced in a joint statement from Shane Ross, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, and Brendan Griffin, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport.

The two headline projects will see Connacht Rugby receive €10m towards the redevelopment of the Sportsground, as well as the construction of a new high performance training centre. The release notes that the project will also benefit Community Games and Special Olympics Ireland.

There is also a €10m grant for the construction of a new two-tier grandstand to replace the existing Anglesea Stand and terrace at Leinster Rugby’s home stadium, the RDS. The project was a joint bid from Horse Ireland and the IRFU.

Plans to build a new indoor training facility at Munster Rugby’s Centre of Excellence have been boosted by a grant of €1.5m.

In an additional boost for Connacht Rugby, a further €10m commitment to the Sportsground redevelopment project was announced by Government Chief Whip Sean Kyne, bringing the total State investment up to €20m.

Kyne said the additional investment was secured due to “the economic significance of the Sportsground redevelopment to the wider West of Ireland region.”

The sole successful application from the FAI to the LSSIF will provisionally see just over €2m allocated to the development of a new Munster Centre of Excellence in Glanmire. The centre will be used by Cork City FC as a training base, as well as providing facilities for teams across the province. The project is expected to cost a total of €3,858,473.

A note accompanying the release outlines that while no payments will be made until the Department is satisfied that issues surrounding financial management and corporate governance at the FAI have been resolved, yesterday’s meeting between Ross, Griffin and a new FAI delegation was “a significant step forward” in relations.

“A number of applications for funding were received from the FAI,” the statement reads.

“In accordance with previous correspondence with the Association, these applications were assessed in the normal way.

“One of the projects (Munster Centre of Excellence, Glanmire) achieved a sufficiently high score at assessment stage to merit a provisional grant allocation. If the project advances, it remains the position that no payments will be made until the Department is satisfied that all issues of concern around financial management and corporate governance at the Association have been resolved.

“The appointment of the Independent Chairman and Directors to the Board on 8 January 2020 is a significant step forward in this regard.” 

A number of GAA grounds have also been allocated funding.

Meath GAA will benefit from €6.2m towards the modernisation of Páirc Tailteann in Navan. 

Waterford’s Walsh Park – deemed unfit to host Championship games in 2018 – will receive €3,753,750 for the construction of a new seated stand, along with upgrades to the dressing rooms and pitch.

St Conleth’s Park in Newbridge will receive just under €5m towards the construction of a new 3,000 seated stand, the installation of new floodlights and upgrades to facilities.  

A bid from Athletics Ireland in partnership with Cork Institute of Technology, who are looking to build a new high performance indoor training facility and carry out a resurfacing of the outdoor track at CIT, has resulted in a grant of €9,225,000. The estimated cost of the total project is €22.9m.

Galway City Council and Swim Ireland will receive €8m towards the €15m plans to build a new swimming pool that will be suitable to host both national and international events.

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The 25 selected projects are expected to cost a total of around €221m to complete.

“The establishment of the LSSIF confirmed the commitment expressed in the National Development Plan and the National Sports Policy 2018 – 2027 to increase investment in sporting facilities across the State,” said Ross.

“Before the establishment of the LSSIF, Government funding for large sports projects was decided on an ad-hoc basis. The fund provides a robust and transparent mechanism for the allocation of funding to develop the best high quality sports facilities across all regions.”

Griffin added: “This is a very good day for Irish sport. Our priority remains to get as many people participating in sport as possible.

“The successful projects announced today include a mix of sports stadia which will be graced by our elite athletes but also swimming pools and other sports facilities which will be used by all ages and abilities.

“Of course, seeing their sporting heroes competing at iconic venues also inspires young people to participate in sport.”

Full details of the LSSIF, including a list of successful applicants, can be viewed here.  

This article was updated at 6.15pm to include details of further State investment in Connacht Rugby’s Sportsground redevelopment project.

Andy Dunne joined Murray Kinsella and Gavan Casey in studio to chat about Joey Carbery, the Saracens fallout, Munster’s future, and much more. 

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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