The Minister was speaking following the signing of a formal legal agreement between the Government, the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) and the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) on the redevelopment of the stadium. Under this agreement, a new company, the Lansdowne Road Stadium Development Company Ltd., formed by the IRFU and FAI is responsible for the construction and management of the new 250 million stadium. This company is chaired by IRFU Chief Executive Mr Philip Browne and will issue a Prior Indicative Notice (PIN) on Thursday (2 September) outlining the nature of the services it will procure in the development of the Stadium.
Willie Ryan has almost 30 years Project Management experience both in Ireland and overseas. He was formerly a Director of the PM Group and was Project Director for a variety of major projects, most notably the 160 million Xerox Technology Park in Dundalk and the 125 million IBM Damastown Campus Development. The Xerox Technology Park Project was awarded the Irish Construction Industry Federation Award in 2000. He was educated at Belvedere College and holds an Engineering degree from University College Dublin and an MBA from Trinity College Dublin.
Speaking at the announcement Minister O'Donoghue said We have made significant progress in the last number of months on advancing plans for the delivery of an Enhanced stadium at Lansdowne Road. I am delighted that we have arrived at a stage where a formal document has been agreed and signed off. This document sets out the way the project will be operated and details the funding arrangements to achieve a stadium at Lansdowne Road, which we expect will be completed by December 2008."
The appointment of Willie Ryan as Project Director by the IRFU and FAI is also to be greatly welcomed. Willie Ryan has long experience of delivering large-scale projects and I am glad to know this major undertaking is in safe and experienced hands. I would like to wish him the best of luck in what will undoubtedly by a demanding and fulfilling role."
Mr Ryan said I have been following the various studies concerning the redevelopment of Lansdowne Road for the past 18 months or so and I was delighted when the Government gave their approval to proceed. The Project will be a challenge for me and it will require teamwork, co-operation and commitment among all the participants, including the IRFU and FAI, local residents, Dublin City Council, Iarnrod Eireann, ESB, BGE, Project Implementation Team and the contractors to deliver a successful project. A project of this magnitude is a powerful statement by the Government, the IRFU and the FAI, and I believe its completion will be seen to provide this country with a state of the arts sports facility offering enormous benefits to all.
Under the terms of the agreement the IRFU and FAI have agreed to enter into a joint venture to procure the development of a 50,000 capacity all-seated stadium at Lansdowne Road. The Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism will provide financial support to a maximum of 191 million, the IRFU will provide funds of 68 million and the FAI will provide funds of 33 million.
The Stadium and all its facilities will be to an Enhanced standard - a modern international stadium with a high aesthetic quality. It will run on a North-South axis in the same orientation as the existing stadium at Lansdowne Road. It will meet all international standards for rugby and soccer current at the time of its completion. In addition to facilitating rugby and soccer to the highest international standards, the pitch area will be adequate to accommodate Gaelic Games.
Over the coming months the Company will commence the procurement process to obtain design and project management teams. It is anticipated that the planning application will be lodged late in 2005 and it is hoped to commence construction of the new stadium in the second half of 2006. Actual construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2008.
Minister O'Donoghue said the interest of the State in the project will be protected by the execution of a Deed of Covenant and Charge in favour of the Minister to ensure that the project is completed and also that the Stadium is used as a sporting facility for the length of its useful life, expected to be at least 30 years. In addition, the work of the new Lansdowne Road Stadium Development Company Ltd. will be overseen by a Steering Group chaired by the Secretary General of the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism, Mr Philip Furlong. The Steering Group also includes senior representatives of the IRFU, FAI, Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism, Office of Public Work and the Department of Finance.
Chief Executive of the IRFU, Mr Philip Browne said, The IRFU warmly welcomes today's formal launch of the Lansdowne Road Stadium Development Company, which will oversee the redevelopment of Lansdowne Road as a modern, state of the art 50,000 seater capacity sports facility. This is a healthy vote of confidence by the Government, for which we are very appreciative, in endorsing the ambitions of Irish rugby, soccer and sport in general.
Not only Dublin City, but the country in general, will benefit by the construction of a stadium of this calibre, and Lansdowne Road's renowned reputation will continue to play a critical role in generating significant revenues to the National and Local economies long into the future.
Mr Fran Rooney, Chief Executive Officer of the Football Association of Ireland said "On behalf of the Football Association I welcome to-day's launch of the Lansdowne Road Stadium Development Company. This project represents a really positive commitment by Government to the development of our games for future generations. We look forward to working with Government, the IRFU and the new Company in developing a Stadium which will advance the cause of Irish Sport both nationally and internationally".