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Connacht Welcome Additional Government Funding For Sportsground Redevelopment

Connacht Welcome Additional Government Funding For Sportsground Redevelopment

A view of the Sportsground last Saturday where over 8,000 fans watched Connacht clash with provincial rivals Leinster ©INPHO/James Crombie

Hildegarde Naughton TD, the Government Chief Whip and Minister of State, today announced the awarding of an additional €10m for the redevelopment of the Sportsground.

Connacht Rugby have expressed the province’s sincere gratitude to the Government, An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD, Minister Catherine Martin TD, and Minister Thomas Byrne TD.

In particular, Connacht have thanked Naughton, their local Minister, who has been hugely supportive of the project from the beginning and for her significant efforts over the past three years to secure this funding.

2020 saw Connacht Rugby awarded €10m from the Large-Scale Sports Infrastructure Fund (LSSIF). At that time, Taoiseach Varadkar made a further commitment to provide €10m in additional funding to the project due to ‘the economic significance of the Sportsground redevelopment to the wider west of Ireland region’, and today’s announcement confirms this commitment with respect to this additional funding.

Connacht Rugby commenced the first phase of the redevelopment of the Sportsground in June 2022, which saw the construction of a new pitch system, the construction and installation of a new LED floodlighting system, and other enabling works, all of which were completed by December 2022.

Today’s announcement will now enable Connacht to move forward with the next phase (2) of the project.

Speaking about the importance of the stadium’s redevelopment, Connacht Rugby CEO Willie Ruane said: “As far back as 2016 we announced our vision to develop ‘facilities that matched our ambition’.

“The redevelopment of the Sportsground into a fit for purpose stadium and High-Performance Centre is the realisation of this vision, not just for everyone who has an involvement in or is a supporter of Connacht Rugby, but also for anyone who has an interest in the wider region.

“I want to fully acknowledge the very significant support we have received from the State for our plans and the strategic importance of the project to the wider regional economy.

“I would also like to once again express our sincere gratitude to An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD, Minister Catherine Martin TD, Minister Thomas Byrne TD, Minister Hildegarde Naughton TD, Minister Anne Rabbitte TD, and the many others who are helping to make this project become a reality.

“I would also like to especially mention our Board and committee members, all of whom are volunteers and put huge time, effort and consideration into ensuring that Connacht Rugby is moving in the right direction and in the right manner.”

Further announcements from Connacht, regarding the project, will be made in the coming weeks.