Connacht Rugby revealed on Friday that it had secured full planning permission for the redevelopment of The Sportsground and its transformation into a 12,000 seat stadium and high-performance centre.
An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was the special guest at the announcement that the project is now “shovel ready” with full planning permission secured.
He was briefed in detail on the plans and the partnership between the Irish Greyhound Board and the freehold owners of the Sportsground, the Galway Agricultural and Sports Society, with respect to a shared vision for the future of the Sportsground.
These include license arrangements with Special Olympics and Community Games Ireland for their use of the facility once it has been completed.
Key to that will be state funding through the Large Scale Sports Infrastructure fund.
Applications for this closed in the middle of last month and are currently being reviewed.
Funding for the Sportsground Redevelopment is based on €20 million via this fund backed up by €10 million sourced through Connacht Rugby’s own resources and an approved element of bank financing.
The project has been the subject of an independent economic appraisal by economist Dr Kevin Hannigan of KHSK Economic Consultants who found through a cost benefit analysis that the project will yield a net benefit of 53%.
The strategic benefits of the project to the entire region are also closely aligned with the Government’s National Planning Framework, Project Ireland 2040 as well as the National Sports Policy, all of which highlight the need for a regional spread of capital investment throughout the country. It also fulfils the need for improved sports infrastructure in the region, identified in the Galway City Development Plan.
“We are delighted to have An Taoiseach in the Sportsground to receive an update on our redevelopment project,” said Connacht Rugby CEO Willie Ruane.
“There has been huge momentum behind the project since we announced last October, and we now have the final granting of planning permission.”
“With 130 people employed throughout the province by Connacht Rugby we are extremely proud of the annual contribution of €34.4m we are making to the regional economy.”
“We have €10m in private funding to bring to the table through a mixture of Connacht Rugby funds and an approved bank credit facility. The project is now shovel ready and the remaining €20m state investment is critical to its delivery.”