Updated: 16:00 Wednesday:
The Government has announced €37 million of funding towards 27 individual projects originally granted over €80 million back in January 2020 under the Large Scale Sport Infrastructure Fund.
Covid and lockdowns landed within weeks of that original announcement slowing progress on a number of the larger projects but today’s announcement is an injection to bring them closer to reality.
The largest of the projects to benefit are the redevelopment of the Sportsgrounds by Connacht Rugby and others in Galway, the RDS Main Arena Development in Dublin and the Athletics Ireland and MTU project in Cork.
Each of these has been granted either €10 million or €5 million in additional funding under the Construction Stream. Other projects in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown, Waterford, Limerick, Meath, Cork, Galway, Dun Laoghaire rathdown, Laois, Wexford, Kilkenny, Kildare, Wicklow and Donegal are also included in this phase.
These include additional money towards the Munster Rugby Centre of Excellence, Waterford, Newbridge and Navan County GAA Grounds, and Finn Harps Donegal Community Stadium.
St Thomas’s Multisport Community Project in Dun Laoghaire rathdown will get an additional €1.2 million.
Regional athletics hubs in and Wicklow as well as Swimming Pool projects in Limerick, Wicklow and Laois will also get top up funding of between €126,000 and ten times that amount.
The Dalymount Park redevelopment in Dublin is being treated separately and will apply for Construction Phase funding in the new round.
The National Watersports Campus in Dun Laoghaire is one of six projects given top up funding in the Design Phase, the others being Phase one of the new Indoor Sports Centre at TU Dublin, and regional sports centres in Cavan, Donegal, Roscommon and Tipperary.
“As far back as 2016 we announced our vision to develop “facilities that matched our ambition”.” said Connacht Rugby CEO Willie Ruane today.
“The redevelopment of The Sportsground into a fit for purpose Stadium and High-Performance Centre is the realisation of this vision, not just for everyone who has an involvement in or is a supporter of Connacht Rugby, but also for anyone who has an interest in the wider region.”
“I want to fully acknowledge the very significant support we have received from The State for our plans and the strategic importance of the project to the wider regional economy. I would also like to once again express our sincere gratitude to An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar; Minister Catherine Martin; Minister Thomas Byrne; Minister Hildegarde Naughton; Minister Anne Rabbitte and the many others who are helping to make this project become a reality.”
Today’s additional funding for projects is being provided in response to delays experienced by grantees arising from the pandemic and construction inflation, following engagement with the Department of Public Expenditure, NDP Delivery and Reform.
Minster Catherine Martin and Minister of State Thomas Byrne also confirmed this morning that a new round of the Large-Scale Sport Infrastructure Fund will open for applications in the first half of 2024, with the dates, terms and conditions to be published on the Department’s website, in due course.
For the first time, it will be a requirement for all successful applicants to publish their Similar Access Policies, in respect of men and women having access to the facilities on similar terms, in order to be eligible for a “top-up” allocation drawdown.
“A new round of the LSSIF will open for applications in the first half of 2024,” confirmed Minister Martin.
“It is vitally important that we have sporting facilities like these so that people of all ages and abilities can benefit from their use.”
“From the Government’s perspective, if we are to achieve our ambitious targets and get as many people participating in sport as possible we need the necessary facilities.”
“Similarly, if we are to develop our elite sportspeople we need to invest at grassroots level. I am pleased that the Government is in a position to provide further assistance in the development of these facilities in light of the challenges they have faced since funding was confirmed just before the pandemic.”
“I know that the Large Scale Sport Infrastructure Fund will deliver a number of exciting facilities in the coming months and years ahead.”
“I am determined to see continued investment in sports facilities across the country in order to ensure we achieve our ambitious targets for sports participation,” added Minister of State for Sport and Physical Education, Thomas Byrne.
“In recent months, I was delighted to see a number of LSSIF projects open to the public, including the Linear Walkway Project in Meath, Phase 1 of Walsh Park in Waterford, and the Regional Athletics Hub in Limerick.”
“By investing in sport facilities across the country, we can best nurture our future sporting talents and reap the benefits of sport and physical activity when it comes to our health and wellbeing, and that is why I am delighted to confirm this additional investment of €37.6 million towards LSSIF funded projects.”