The Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, TD, officially opened the Irish Sport HQ at the National Sports Campus in Blanchardstown. He was accompanied by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar, TD, who has responsibility for the development of the National Sports Campus.
Performing the opening of Irish Sport HQ the Taoiseach said, “Ireland is a country that is passionate about sport and it is fitting that where possible we should have world class facilities to support, encourage and inspire everyone to get involved in sport. This Government has put a renewed focus on supporting sporting activities nationwide and I’m delighted that significant progress has been made in the development of the National Sport Campus over the past 12 months. The opening of the Irish Sport HQ and the arrival of 19 national governing bodies is a major step in the development of the Campus. Today’s milestone will also help foster the sense of community and cooperation which I know already exists in Irish sport.”
Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar said: “When I was appointed Minister I developed a new vision for the National Sports Campus. We decided there wasn’t going to be any new stadium. Instead, we made lands and facilities available and invited the governing bodies to develop them.
“The Campus is one of my four main sporting priorities, alongside the re-launch of the Sports Capital Programme, protecting funding for sport through the Sports Council, and promoting sport as an exam subject in schools. We have seen huge developments, and I’m delighted to be here today for the opening of Sport HQ. The Campus is now well on the way to being a national training centre for sport. It shows what can be achieved when you work on a realistic scale, within realistic budgets, in partnership with the sporting bodies.”
Work is currently underway on the Multi-Sport Pitches and Sport Pavilion and the planned High Performance facilities for Horse Sport Ireland and Pentathlon Ireland are scheduled for completion in August. These facilities will be of great benefit to the entire Greater Dublin region, and beyond.
Minister of State for Tourism & Sport Michael Ring said: “The arrival of a further 19 National Governing Bodies on the Campus is another important milestone, along with the development of the new access road. This really is a unique project which has the full backing of all the stakeholders in Irish sport including the Irish Sports Council, the Olympic and Paralympic movements and, most importantly, the sports bodies and the athletes themselves.”
Speaking at the official opening Mr Sean Benton, Chairman of the National Sports Campus Development Authority, said the NSCDA believed that “providing office accommodation for our NGBs and support agencies in a “communal” setting is important for the development of sports policy and administration. It enables and encourages greater communication between sports bodies; it fosters a spirit of togetherness; it facilitates the sharing of knowledge, experience and ideas; and it also makes good economic sense. “
Mr Benton went on to say that a great deal of progress had been made on the Campus project over the last 18 months. “Our stated aim is to deliver a Campus for the benefit of not just our sports bodies and administrators, but especially for our elite athletes from all disciplines, and also for the general public. To that end the last 18 months have seen –
– The commencement of the works to deliver a multi-sport, all-weather facility which will be available to sports bodies, local clubs and the general public by the end of 2013.
– The completion of vital Common Infrastructure works and an Access Roadway to open up the site for development.
– The Allocation of Sites to the GAA, FAI, Irish Hockey and the IRFU to develop top-class training facilities.
– The commencement of works on developing High Performance training facilities for Equestrian sports and Modern Pentathlon.
– The provision of dry-land training facilities for diving and gymnastics.
– The exploration of funding options for the development of the proposed National Indoor Training Arena.
He concluded his remarks by noting that this year the National Aquatic Centre, the first part of the Campus project, celebrates its tenth birthday.
“The National Aquatic Centre has been a huge success attracting a footfall of over seven million visits since it first opened its doors. It is an example to us all of just what can be achieved by this country if we are brave enough to invest money in the right sporting facilities.”