The Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, John O’Donoghue TD, is delighted to announce that the Government has agreed to provide substantial funding towards the development of major new state of the art stadium facilities at Lansdowne Road. The Government today also committed itself to the development as financial resources permit of a sports campus at Abbotstown.

The Minister said ‘This is a landmark day for Irish sport. We are bringing our national sporting infrastructure into the 21st Century, on a much-loved site that resonates with history, tradition and some of our greatest successes. Our international sports of rugby and soccer will now have a platform on which they can showcase themselves and Ireland to the world and from which they can develop and build on the great progress they have made over the last 15 years.’

The Government has today also agreed to endorse the phased delivery of a sporting campus at Abbotstown over a period of years. This will include medical, research and training support for elite athlete development, administrative facilities for the smaller sporting bodies who depend largely on voluntary commitment as well as a range of other facilities including pitches and training grounds not only for our major sports but also for some of our smaller sports whose needs for modern facilities are also important. It will also include an indoor sporting arena which will be provided, it is anticipated, with private sector involvement.

The new Lansdowne Road will be a 50,000 all seated Stadium (with a transparent roof covering the seats), which will be built on the axis of the existing stadium. Development will commence as soon as possible and if all goes to schedule it should be completed by 2008. It will meet all the current international standards for rugby and soccer and the pitch area will be of sufficient size to accommodate Gaelic games. The standard and facilities will be broadly equivalent to those at Croke Park, which is a much admired modern state of the art stadium. It will include about 64 corporate boxes and 8,000 premium seats as well as substantially improved back-of-the house facilities both for players and spectators.

The estimated cost of this project is €250 million in current prices which is likely to translate into actual outlays totalling just under €300 million as the project is realised over the next five years. Approved Government support is €167 million in current prices which is expected to translate into cumulative outlays of just over €190 million over five years.

The Minister said ‘the hallmark of the stadium process has been one of consultation and collaboration. It has seen an excellent partnership develop between our largest sporting National Governing Bodies – the FAI, IRFU and the GAA. It will involve co-operation and consultation right throughout the process with the residents in the area around Lansdowne Road. And most importantly it is a symbol of the Government’s commitment to develop sport at every level in this country and for all the people of Ireland.

The Taoiseach’s vision for the creation of a modern sporting infrastructure has sustained the debate on how best to ensure that international sporting events can be staged in this country in state of the art facilities in difficult budgetary conditions. Without his support and encouragement today’s twin announcements on stadium development and sports campus facilities would not have been possible.’

For more details contact:

Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism
An Roinn Ealaoín, Spóirt agus Turasóireachta