More than €37m doled out in top-up sports grants

RDS gets additional €5m for main arena redevelopment

The Government has awarded more than €37 million in so-called top-up sports grants, including an additional €5 million for the redevelopment of the RDS and €10 million to Connacht Rugby.

The grants are in addition to €86 million worth of grants doled out in 2020. The single biggest award goes to Connacht Rugby, which doubles the original grant awarded for the redevelopment of the Sports Ground in Galway. The grant for the redevelopment of the RDS main arena where Leinster play their rugby matches and the Horseshow takes place, is bumped up to €15 million overall. The Government awarded an additional €5.1 million for Athletics Ireland and MTU Community Sport Project, bringing its total grant to €14.3 million.

The RDS received planning permission for a new €50 million Anglesea stand in August.

“It is vitally important that we have sporting facilities like these so that people of all ages and abilities can benefit from their use,” Minister for Sport Catherine Martin said in a statement. “From the Government’s perspective, if we are to achieve our ambitious targets and get as many people participating in sport as possible we need the necessary facilities. Similarly, if we are to develop our elite sportspeople we need to invest at grassroots level.”

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Overall, the department has awarded 27 projects an additional €37.6 million. The additional funding for projects is being provided, in response to delays experienced by grantees arising from the pandemic and construction inflation, following engagement with the Department of Public Expenditure, NDP Delivery and Reform, the department said.

Ms Martin also confirmed that a new round of the Large-Scale Sport Infrastructure Fund will open for applications in the first half of next year. Successful applicants will have to publish their so-called similar access policies on how men and women will be able to use the facilities under similar conditions in order to drawdown the grant.

Other recipients of the top-ups include €3.3 million for Waterford’s county ground at Walsh Park, €2.3 million for the modernisation of Páirc Tailteann in Co Meath, €1.2 million for Munster Rugby’s centre of excellence and €1.1 million for the Limerick Regional Athletics Hub at Newcastle West.

Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan is an Assistant Business Editor at The Irish Times