The Galway City Council voted unanimously to primarily support Connacht Rugby with funding from the Large Scale Sports Infrastructure Fund of at least €100 million.
“I’m delighted that the decision can move forward in unanimity,” said Mayor McNelis. “It sends a strong message to Dublin that we are united in moving this forward.”
The council held a special meeting on Monday to decide the priority of the projects based on the merits of each application.
The council proposed to put forward all projects, though the redevelopment of The Sportsground for Connacht Rugby was placed as a first priority for principal funding.
“It cannot be understated the amount of sports revenue Connacht brings to the region. I’ve spoken to those behind the Cappagh Road aqua centre in Knocknacarra, and they would be pleased with the number two spot in funding behind Connacht,” said Councillor Peter Keane.
The proposed Galway Aqua Sports Centre on Cappagh Road received the nod for second priority, followed by a rowing centre on Dyke Road, and finally a venue for Renmore Gymanstics.
The Large Scale Sports Infrastructure Fund, granted by the Department of Transport, Tourism, and Sport, contains subcategories— including principal funding but also funds for technical assistance.
The rowing center and the gymnastics venue received first and second priority for technical assistance, as both projects still need funding to undergo feasibility and environmental studies.
“All of these projects stand on their own merit and would do amazing things for the city,” said Councillor Michael Crowe.
The LSSIF grants at least €100 million in funding, and the council also passed a proposition to contact the Minister of Transport, Tourism, and Sport Shane Ross to increase that number to accommodate all four projects in the future.
“Tonight is a great news story for Galway with all of the potential sports projects the city has,” said Councillor Mairéad Farrell of the meeting.