Connacht Rugby have lodged a planning application for the €30 million redevelopment of the Sportsground on College Road, which could be completed by early 2023.
The plans involve the construction of a 12,000-seater stadium with a new grandstand, high-performance training centre, 4G synthetic playing pitch, bars, food stands and supporter facilities.
If approved, the stadium would be developed over six phases, running from May 2019 to spring 2023, although it would be in a position to open in 2022.
Connacht Rugby Stadium Ltd – which is headed by Willie Ruane and Michael Turley – has sought permission to demolish the Clan Terrace and Connacht Rugby offices, training pitches, and ESB substation and to construct a new north grandstand.
The grandstand will have terraced and seating areas over four levels, and will also include bars and food stands, player and match day facilities, café, merchandise shop, TV facilities and a corporate seating and bar area.
The south stand will be completely refurbished, and a new high-performance centre with an indoor synthetic training pitch and office accommodation will replace the demolished clubhouse.
The existing grass pitch will be replaced with a synthetic 4G pitch, and the main access will be relocated with a new concourse adjacent to the new grandstand.
According to the application, the plans are intended to “modernise the campus and bring the facility in line with other Irish provincial teams and to provide a state-of-the-art training campus for the development of Connacht Rugby”.
The Sportsground can currently accommodate 6,204 people, or 7,924 when increased capacity plans are in place. The new stadium will hold 10,600 people on a typical match day, although additional capacity will mean a total of 12,000 could be accommodated.
“A key ambition for the redevelopment of the Sportsground was to physically and visually connect the ground and associated facilities to Galway. This is to make the most of the real asset of having a city centre location and the sense of place and the ownership that it brings,” the application reads.
Independent economic research carried out in 2016, found that Connacht Rugby contributes €34.4 million to the regional economy.
Connacht Rugby CEO Willie Ruane said: “The delivery of this project will increase that contribution and provide a beacon for regional development in the West of Ireland. Our vision is to ensure that the province has a stadium which future generations of sports stars, supporters and all the people of the West of Ireland can be immensely proud of.”
A decision on the planning application is due in February, although the City Council may at that point request revisions to be made to the plans, or seek clarification on certain elements.
How the works will progress:
Phase 1 of the works involves the upgrading of the existing main pitch, and work will take place between May and August 2019.
Phase 2 will see the construction of the high-performance training centre, which will begin in the second quarter of 2020 and take 12 months to complete.
Phase 3 involves the demolition of the existing buildings and training pitch, clubhouse, bar etc. This will commence in Q2 of 2021 and take three months.
Phase 4 will commence in Q3 2021 and will take 16 months to complete. It involves the construction of the new northern grandstand and concourse.
Phase 5 involves the demolition of structures including temporary stands and terracing. This will commence in Q3 of 2022 and take one month.
The final phase involves work on the existing southern (Irish Greyhound Board) stand and will take six months from Q3 2022.
Gardaí issue warning on ‘movie money’
Gardaí have warned of an increase in ‘novelty’ euro notes – which are almost identical to real currency – in circulation.
The notes are usually marked ‘movie money’ or ‘prop money’, but this can often go unnoticed by the person handling it. They do not have any security features.
Revenue Officers have seized notes in varying denominations representing a value of €430,895 in recent mail centre detections.
Detective Superintendent Michael Cryan of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau said: “People need to be aware that such notes exist and at busy times, especially late at night, they need to exercise a little care and attention.
“These notes are easily identifiable if precautionary checks are made. Also people who try to tender such notes as real face prosecution, a possible prison sentence and a conviction, which is for life. Such convictions have serious ramifications if one wanted to travel, to work in certain sectors and it can affect their credit rating”.
“We advise businesses and members of the public who deal in cash to be aware that such notes are in circulation and take appropriate precautionary measures. Business owners should ensure staff members handling cash are alerted to watch out for these fraudulent notes.
“The use of fraudulent currency when trying to purchase goods or services is an offence under the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act 2001 and carries a potential prison sentence of 10 years.
“These fraudulent notes should not be accepted as legal tender and any incidents of persons trying to pay with “prop money” should be reported to Gardaí immediately,” said Det Supt Cryan.
Fire at site of former Corrib Great Southern Hotel
Emergency services are at the scene of a large fire at the site of the former Corrib Great Southern Hotel which broke out in the early hours of this morning.
Four units of the Galway Fire and Rescue Service were called to the former hotel near GMIT at 5.45am. A unit from Athenry is also in attendance at the scene.
Fire fighters are maintaining a presence at the derelict hotel, which has been the scene of a number of arson attacks over the past number of years.
Three refused bail on violent disorder charges
Three men who were arrested this morning as part of a Garda investigation into violent disorder at a funeral in Mervue last year, have been denied bail by a District Court Judge.
Denis Hannafin, Curry; Robbie Hannafin, Corboy, Edgeworthstown and Tommy Hannafin, Dublin Road – all in Longford – were charged with violent disorder in connection with an incident which occurred outside Holy Family funeral home on in January 13 last year.
Detective Garda Ronan Leonard told the court this morning that CCTV footage showed a number of members of the Hannafin family outside the funeral home on January 13, 2019, at approximately 3.15pm, when a number of members of the McGinley family made their way towards them.
An altercation ensued, which resulted in one member of the McGinley family suffering a gunshot wound, while another received a stab wound to the back. A third man suffered acid wounds.
Gardaí explained that there is a feud going on between the two families, which began when juvenile members of the families got into a fight at a pool hall.
Detective Leonard voiced concerns that if the three accused were granted bail, they would commit further offences and intimidate members of the McGinley family.
Judge Seamus Hughes had remanded the three accused in custody to Harristown District Court next Friday, February 28.