A planned announcement of the first wave of successful bids for funding from Government to develop large scale sporting infrastructure is now likely to go ahead later today.
The decision on which of the many projects submitted will be given the go-ahead was made in the main before Christmas but the potential of an immediate general election, together with ongoing challenges between the Government and the FAI meant no announcement could be made.
The decision last night by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and leader of Fianna Fáil Micheál Martin to push back a decision on timing to at least next week is believed to have freed up a number of Government announcements one of which will be the sporting one.
The positive meeting between the new directors of the FAI and Ministers Shane Ross and Brendan Griffin, also last night, may mean a few changes to the wording of how football projects are treated in the announcement.
We believe that money for the redevelopment of Dalymount Park was going to be included regardless, through a mechanism involving Dublin City Council. The more positive dynamic now in play though means that other projects, like those put forward for Glanmire in Cork, Finn Harps in Donegal and by Drogheda United could if they are considered viable and fit the complex jigsaw of regional balance, move subtly from ‘we would if we could’ to ‘we will when we can.’
There are three major developments in the mix from Rugby with the Sportsground Stadium in Galway for Connacht Rugby (pictured above) seen as being the most likely to gain the most funding. The redevelopment of the RDS by the Society in partnership with Leinster rugby will be one of the most high profile to see if it has made the list while the addition of new facilities at Irishindependnet Park in Cork is also on the line.
Part of the criteria is that the sporting bodies or local authorities who are backing each project must contribute a minimum of 30 per cent of the overall budget.
If the amounts being made available are spread thinner in order to get more projects into the mix this will jeopardise some that would be to the pin of their collar to make that 30 per cent.
This funding pot of at least €100 million will be transformational for a number of signature projects across the rest of this decade.
Today we hope to learn which ones they will be.
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