An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar TD, officially opened Phase Two of the Sport Ireland National Indoor Arena at the Sport Ireland Campus in Blanchardstown – a Project Ireland 2040 development.
Phase Two of the Sport Ireland National Indoor Arena comprises of covered synthetic pitch facilities, primarily designed for rugby, soccer and Gaelic games. The development includes: an indoor pitch for soccer & Gaelic games, which can accommodate a number of sports; a ½ sized indoor rugby pitch; and ancillary facilities including changing & player rooms, offices and meeting rooms.
Speaking at the opening, An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar TD, said: “This is a red-letter day for the Sport Ireland Campus and for Irish sport. I am a great believer in Government investment in sport. Sport helps bring communities together in a way that is both remarkable and inspiring. The budget for sport increased by 12% last year as part of our strategy to double it by 2027.
“When our athletes and teams compete at the highest level they carry our hopes and our dreams. We share their heartache in defeat, their joy in victory. We are with them win or lose. The Government’s mission is to provide world-class facilities, so our athletes and teams can compete on the world stage. The expanded Sport Ireland Campus has become a very busy venue in a short space of time and I hope that it will contribute to continued success for Irish sport in the coming years.”
The commencement of Phase Two was announced in July 2017 as a two year project with a construction cost of €24.2 million. The project has been completed in this timeframe at a construction cost of €24.4 million.
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross TD, added: “The opening of Phase Two will add to the existing world-class facilities already available in Phase One of the Sport Ireland National Indoor Arena, which was opened in early 2017. With the addition of the field sport facilities, the Sport Ireland Campus is providing access for an ever-wider range of sports. With Project 2040 and the National Development Plan also committing to the development of a National velodrome and badminton centre, the Sport Ireland Campus has firmly been established as the home of sport in Ireland.”
Phase Two of the Sport Ireland National Indoor Arena is the latest addition to the Sport Ireland Campus, with other facilities on site including: the National Aquatic Centre, Sport Ireland Institute, Irish Sport HQ, National Diving Centre, National Horse Sport Arena, National Cross Country Track, Cricket Ireland High Performance Centre and Special Olympics Ireland HQ, among others.
Commenting on the impact of the facilities on the Sport Ireland Campus, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin TD, said: “Phase Two of the Sport Ireland National Indoor Arena is a very welcome addition to Ireland’s sporting infrastructure. The Campus has already played host to major events from IPC European Para-Swimming Championships and Special Olympics Ireland Games and will next year host the European Cross Country Championships. The development of Phase Two of the Sport Ireland National Indoor Arena is another important component which will assist us in continuing to attract top sports teams and events to Ireland, enhancing our international sports reputation, and contributing to the growth of our sports tourism industry, the fastest growing sector in tourism.”
The location of the Sport Ireland National Indoor Arena has been designed to allow easy access to the rugby, Gaelic games and soccer facilities on the Sport Ireland Campus – the existing FAI National Training Centre and GAA National Games Development Centre, and the IRFU pitch facilities that are under construction.
Chairman of Sport Ireland, Kieran Mulvey, said: “The world-class facilities now available across the Sport Ireland National Indoor Arena and the wider Sport Ireland Campus are a sincere thank you, testament and dedication to those athletes and teams in the past whose achievements, successes and magnificent World, Olympic, Paralympic and European Podium medals have brought great honour to our country. Current and future teams and athletes have now an extensive range of world-class elite standard facilities on the Sport Ireland Campus from which they now can avail. On behalf of Sport Ireland, I would like to thank An Taoiseach, our Ministers for Sport and the Government for providing the necessary funding for this impressive facility to be completed.”
The covered facility will allow Ireland’s top athletes in the relevant codes to train all year round, regardless of weather conditions, in preparation for competitive fixtures and international tournaments. At the same time the facility will provide a consistent environment for the provision of improved referee and coach development and training.
Sport Ireland Chief Executive, John Treacy, added: “The development of Phase Two means that Ireland’s leading field sports will have access to extensive indoor and outdoor facilities along with the world-class facilities of the Sport Ireland Institute in one location, delivering a significant improvement on training facilities elsewhere. We have a commitment from Irish Rugby, who will make the Sport Ireland National Indoor Arena home for their elite national teams. I would like to thank the sports for their close collaboration on this project and look forward to seeing the pitches and additional facilities in full use in the months and years ahead.”