Large Scale Funding – The Rugby Winners

Connacht Rugby are the biggest winners from the 2020 allocation of Large Scale Sports Infrastructure Funding. Both they and the RDS had submitted projects with 20 million sought in grant funding to make them happen.

Both were granted what is now known to be a maximum allocation from the Fund of €10 million. Leaving any project €10 million short is likely to cause a major question over its completion but on Friday evening Connacht hit the jackpot again with news that they were to be granted an additional amount of that size from the Government’s Ireland 2040 Fund.

“There is huge excitement in Connacht Rugby and throughout the province, at the announcement that €20m in state funding is being allocated to the redevelopment of the Sportsground,” said a clearly delighted Willie Ruane, CEO at Connacht Rugby.

“I want to fully acknowledge the very significant support we have received from An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. 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.”

You’d have to imagine that support for Fine Gael in the soon to be announced General Election will be a little stronger now than it might have been.

According to our sources, the Connacht application was the second-highest scoring of the 34 applications for the Stream Two Funding intended to bring projects to full delivery.

With Rugby not indicating a preferred bid among the three major projects it put forward, it created a position where there was likely a case of ‘something for everyone’ so there were grants announced as well for Munster and Leinster.

Munster Rugby put forward a bid seeking €2,16,022 towards the cost of a new indoor training centre in Cork. They got 75 per cent of what they were looking for.

“Munster Rugby are delighted to announce that the province have received a €1.512m grant from the Government’s Large-Scale Sport Infrastructure Fund (LSSIF),” said a statement from Munster on Friday evening.

“The funding will go towards the construction of an indoor training facility at Irish Independent Park with planning permission already approved for the project.”

“The new facility will be built primarily for Munster Rugby’s underage sides and the surrounding community with local clubs, schools and community groups set to benefit.”

“Munster Rugby would like to thank Cork City Council, the Department for Transport, Tourism and Sport and all local political representatives for their assistance.”

“Today’s grant announcement is a fantastic starting point but there is more work to be done in securing the remaining funds with a projected cost of €2.88m.”

That ‘more work to be done’ will apply even more so in Leinster where the redevelopment of the Anglesea Stand at the RDS, a partnership between the RDS and Leinster Rugby, was also granted €10 million of the €20 million it had submitted for but did not gain any more from any other Government fund.

They know their manners though and Leinster rugby CEO Mick Dawson was also quick to thank the Department and those who had worked so hard to secure this level of funding.

“This is a very welcome development today with regard to the granting of the Large Scale Sports Infrastructure Fund by the Government and the Department of Sport.”

“There has been a lot of work behind the scenes and too many people involved to mention individually but we are very grateful for all their efforts. This a hugely positive development.”

“I would like to formally thank Minister Shane Ross and his team and indeed Michael Duffy and the RDS, for their help in securing this funding.”

The RDS project has been in the mix for a long time and with this amount now available from Government there will doubtless be a renewed optimism and enthusiasm for seeking the remainder of the funding from other sources.

While Connacht could gleefully go to tender for construction though things will be slower to come to fruition at the other two.

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