The redevelopment of the Sportsground for Connacht Rugby has been awarded €20 million in government funding through the Large Scale Sports Infrastructure Fund and an additional government commitment.
Earlier today the funding grants for the Large Scale Sports Infrastructure Fund were announced which included €10 million each for the Sportsground and RDS.
In the last hour Galway West TD and Government Chief Whip Seán Kyne announced that an additional €10 million for the Sportsground project had been committed by the government.
Deputy Kyne said that he has been personally confirmed to him by An Taoiseach Leo Vardkar in recognition of the stadium’s “economic significance” of its redevelopment to the West of Ireland.
Galway West TD Hildegarde Naughton also confirmed the additional funding, saying the Mr Varadkar will be writing to Connacht Rugby to confirm the funding soon so that work can get underway quickly.
“I brought Leo to the Sportsground to view plans for the redevelopment last May, and l have met with him several times since then in relation to Connacht Rugby’s application for funding under the scheme,” explained Deputy Naughton who is a season-ticket holder at the Sportsground.”
“I am very grateful that my representations to him, and to my colleague Brendan Griffin, paid off today with the announcement of €10 million; and I am absolutely delighted that another €10 million will now be separately provided following our further discussions.”
“It will allow for this ambitious project to be progressed more quickly than anyone imagined, and we are considerably closer to finally having facilities at the Sportsground that are worthy of the team’s outstanding performances on the field in recent seasons.”
Commenting on the historic investment, Connacht Rugby CEO Willie Ruane said that there is “huge excitement” at the club and “throughout the province” at the news.
He thanked the Taoiseach for the “significant support” he has show to the project and for coming to Galway last year to view their plans and hear about the regional importance of this project.
“Mr Varadkar personally visited the Sportsground last year to receive a briefing on our plans and the strategic importance of the project to the wider regional economy.”
“I would also like to express our sincere gratitude to Government Chief Whip Sean Kyne for the support he has shown throughout the project and in ultimately delivering the additional funding to make this project a reality”.
Connacht Rugby’s successful application for funding under the LSSIF received unanimous political support from members of all political parties including Minister Michael Ring, Hildergarde Naughton and Independent TD Noel Grealish.
Commenting on the LSSIF application process, Willie Ruane said that the vision of Connacht Rugby has always been to provide a fit for purposed stadium and training centre.
This would be a location which “future generations of sports stars, supporters and all the people of the West of Ireland can be immensely proud of.
“These facilities will also be available to the Special Olympics and the Community Games members, who gave priority status in support of our application.”
“The allocation of state funding is critical to the Sportsground’s redevelopment and today’s announcement means that we can now immediately move forward with complete certainty towards delivering this transformational project”.
The phased project will cost €30m to complete in full and full planning permission was granted for the redevelopment in May 2019.