The first wave of government funding under the new Large Scale Sport Infrastructure Fund (LSSIF) was announced today with Connacht Rugby and Leinster Rugby set to receive €10m for stadium redevelopments.
In total, 25 different projects are to receive funding of various amounts with the total expenditure amounting to €77.4m. While the project funding has been announced, all grants are currently provisional with each project undergoing further assessment before funding is confirmed and released.
The funding was announced in a joint statement by Shane Ross, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, and Brendan Griffin, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport.
A statement released by Ross said:
“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.
“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.”
“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.”
The most high-profile grant sees Connacht Rugby awarded €10m to redevelop the Sportsground in Galway, as well as a new high-performance training centre. Leinster Rugby are also set to receive €10m where the grant will be used to construct a two-tier grandstand to replace the Anglesea Stand at the RDS Arena.
Munster Rugby will also receive €1.5m in funding to build a new indoor training facility at their centre of excellence.
Meanwhile, a number of GAA grounds have been allocated funding. Páirc Tailteann in Navan is set to receive a €6.2m injection of cash much to the delight of Meath GAA. St. Conleth’s Park in Newbridge is set to construct a new 3,000 seated stand after Kildare GAA received just under €5m in funding.
Walsh Park in Waterford, which was deemed unfit to host championship games in 2018, will receive just under €4m to go towards the construction of a new seated stand along with dressing room and pitch upgrades.
While it was good news for a lot of sporting bodies in Ireland today, the FAI’s woes continue after just one application proved successful that will see €2m allocated to the development of a new Munster Centre of Excellence in Glanmire to be used by Cork City FC.
It was also revealed that no payments will be made to the FAI until the Department is satisfied that issues surrounding financial management and corporate governance have been resolved.
“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.”