10 Dec, 12:23
Ireland's John Lacey will referee his first ever RBS 6 Nations while Alain Rolland is also included in the Elite Panel in what is his last season.
Minister Seamus Brennan today presided over the official signing of two key contracts by the National Sports Campus Development Authority to urgently progress the project, the appointment of the Design Team and the Project Management Team.
Following approval by the Government of the phased delivery of a national sporting campus at Abbotstown, a Development Control Plan for the National Sports Campus was prepared.
Minister Brennan outlined details of what would be delivered under Phase 1 of the Development Control Plan:
• A National Field Sports Training Centre with pitches and facilities catering for rugby, soccer, Gaelic games and hockey
• A National Indoor Training Centre which will provide world class facilities for over 20 National Governing Bodies of Sport
• On site accommodation for sports men and women to allow them make maximum use of the training and support facilities.
• Sports science and medical facilities
• Sixteen seven-a-side synthetic pitches for primary use by clubs in the area and community use
• And completion of work by end of this year on a new headquarters for the Irish Institute of Sport
Minister Brennan was joined at the media briefing by Dan Flinter, Chairman of the National Sports Development Authority, GAA representatives, President Nickey Brennan, Director General Paraic Duffy, Kilkenny hurler Henry Shefflin and Dublin footballer Bryan Cullen, IRFU representatives, Chief Executive Phillip Browne and Irish Internationals Brian O'Driscoll and Luke Fitzgerald, and FAI representatives, President David Blood and former international goalkeeper Packie Bonner.
Phase 1 of the project will utilise 205 acres of the 495-acre Abbotstown site. The estimated cost of this Phase has been originally estimated at €119m, (2004 prices) and the National Sports Campus Development Authority is currently assessing more up to date costings before submitting proposals to Government.
It is envisaged that Phase 1 will be delivered within the next three to four years. The delivery will be greatly assisted by extensive preparatory work that has taken place in relation to planning matters.
Under the Fingal County Development Plan, the County Council was required to undertake a study to determine the appropriate uses of the Abbotstown lands. The study was subsequently approved by Fingal County Council last year and it is the template against which applications for planning permission have already and will continue to be made.