Councillors vote Connacht Rugby number one for sports funding

Connacht Rugby's plans for the redevelopment of the Sportsground have received a major boost as the Galway City Council has agreed to prioritise the province's application for the large scale sport infrastructure fund (LSSIF ).

The news comes after the holding of a special meeting at City Hall on Monday evening where councillors were informed by the Galway City Council chief executive Brendan McGrath that should a local authority wish to make more than one application then the local authority must rank the applications in order of merit and must be in accordance with the city's development plan.

The decision which was unanimous in Connacht Rugby's favour, sees the regional aqua sports centre at Cappagh ranked second, a water sports centre of excellence at Dyke Road proposed by Galway Rowing Club third, and a sports centre in Doughiska which would involve Renmore Gymnastics placed fourth.

The projects will be split into two streams; stream 1 sees priority given to those national governing bodies (NGBs ) that do not have existing national or regional infrastructure at their disposal; and stream 2 is for projects seeking funding of at least €300,000. Stream 1 sees the Dyke Road water sports centre of excellence and Doughiska sports centre ranked one and two respectively with Connacht Rugby and Cappagh's regional aqua sports centre placed first and second respectively.

Despite the prioritisation of the projects Mr McGrath did warn the chamber that it did not guarantee funding.

Mr McGrath said; "The scheme is not prescriptive. It will come down to the quality of the application and how the application fits the criteria. Just because projects have been pritorised one, two, three, and four, the project in fourth may receive funding if its application meets the necessary criteria."

The Galway City Council will now work with the four projects to prepare their applications for the April 17 deadline to the Department of Tourism, Transport, and Sport.

The fund which is a part of the Government's national development plan to support its national sports policy will see a provision of at least €100 million being made available between 2018 and 2027 for sports projects around the country.

Galway, Dublin, Cork, Limerick, and Waterford are the five cities targeted by the plan.

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