Irish cycling gets massive boost as Government approves €8 million indoor velodrome

Posted on: March 9th, 2014

Plans for a new purpose built indoor velodrome – with offices and other facilities – have been given the first approval by Government, pushing the project into the planning and design phase. What’s mooted is a shared facility between Cycling Ireland and Badminton Ireland. The track above is in Los Angeles and has badminton courts in the middle and spectator stands around the edges, just like that now planned for west Dublin.

 

 

 

Irish cycling has received a massive boost with news that the government has given the green light to plans for the country’s first indoor velodrome.

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar last Friday formally approved the project and put in place funding for the design and planning stages of the purpose built velodrome on the Abbotstown sports campus in west Dublin.

The €8 to €9 million track still needs to secure planning permission. And it remains unclear how the cost will be divided between Cycling Ireland, the State and Badminton Ireland which is a partner in the mooted facility.

However, Friday’s development represents the first significant backing from the Government for the new 250-metre velodrome, which Badminton Ireland will also use as its base for training and competition.

The latter body hopes to have up to 16 courts in the centre, which will be surrounded by the banked track.

“It’s very positive, it’s a green light to prepare the plans, but it’s not fully capital secured,” Cycling Ireland chief executive Geoff Liffey said.

“We put together a feasibility report before Christmas for the campus authority in a joint project with Badminton Ireland and they (the campus authorities) had to review the feasibility study and make sure they were happy with it and it stacked up.

“Then, at their February board meeting they approved the decision to bring it forward to tender stage and they got a green light from government on Friday.

“It’s massive, massive news. There’s an investment of time and money on behalf of the government and the various authorities to review the feasibility report and they wouldn’t do that unless they were committed to the project. So it’s very positive.

“We’ll have to wait until the end of the year until the next budgets are announced to see what funding we’ll get, but it’s a signal of intent that the government want a velodrome on the campus.

“They’re prepared to spend some money to bring it forward. So now it’s about preparing the plans, putting a full design team in place and hopefully by the end of the year the project will be fully specked out.

“The next step would be to tease out the operational and management side of things with Badminton Ireland; to see how it would operate on a year-to-year basis.”

 

 

Liffey added when the design team was in place, both Cycling Ireland and Badminton Ireland will have input into what is required in the building to satisfy their needs.

Both organisations will also need to prepare to contribute to the funding of the new facility.

“We don’t know what the final price will be but it’s going to be in or around €8million,” Liffey said.

“It’ll all depend on how much of it will be centrally funded through government resources, that’s not known yet. But based on the Cycling Ireland’s membership we’d hope that it could be self-financing once it’s up and running.

“We’d hope it could provide jobs from a coaching side and a management side. It’s just very encouraging, it’d be a massive boost for us here in the country to see it through.

“We’ve already shown we can be successful and our own velodrome would bring us onto the next level.”

It is unclear how the development with the mooted velodrome in Abbotstown impacts plans for a track in Dundalk. Liffey said the deadline to apply for funding – initially the end of February – for that facility had been put back.

Cycling Ireland was applying for grants for that track along with its partners on the project; Dundalk Institute of Technology and Cuchulainn CC. However, Liffey said while he believed the application would be lodged, he was unclear if that had already happened.

 

 

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