Sunday 20 May 2018

RDS redevelopment waits on grant

Leinster CEO Mick Dawson
Leinster CEO Mick Dawson

The future of the RDS will become clearer in the next month or two, according to Leinster Rugby chief executive Mick Dawson.

The RDS are awaiting a decision on Government funding to go ahead with the redevelopment which will initially begin with the Anglesea Stand but is part of a wider project that will increase the capacity at the venue to 21,000.

The venue has a naming partner in place, widely believed to be Laya Healthcare, and Dawson said the process is ready to begin once funding is secured for the €26m project, as planning permission for the new stand was approved almost a year ago.

"The RDS have made an application to the Government for part funding of the stadium and I think that decision will happen in October or November," said Dawson, currently in Cape Town with the Leinster senior squad who are in the midst of a two-game mini-tour to fulfil their Guinness PRO14 fixtures against the Southern Kings and the Cheetahs.

"We'd be hopeful of something positive coming out of that. The RDS are putting their own money into it, there is a naming-rights partner - we have planning permission, we have architects and we are ready to go to tender so if we get the money, we go ahead with it.

"Initially it will be redeveloping the Anglesea Stand, but the RDS's plan is to grow the whole thing. We must remember that the RDS run the Horse Show and remove the seats at either end for that, but the Anglesea Stand would add about an extra two to 3,000 but rather than the extra people, it would just modernise the facility.

"The RDS is fantastic, but it just needs a bit of upgrading and we're all committed to that - the RDS, ourselves and from the government people we've spoken to we understand there's a level of support as well."

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