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Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Tuesday, 31 Mar 1992

Vol. 417 No. 9

Cesiteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - National Indoor Sports Stadium.

Jimmy Deenihan


16 Mr. Deenihan asked the Minister for Education if, following the recent announcement that the Government have abandoned their proposals to build a national indoor stadium on the Custom House Docks site, he will outline whether he has plans to build a national indoor stadium at another location; and if he can now justify the spending of £1.38 million of the preliminary investigations and other matters on the Custom House Docks site.

Jimmy Deenihan


171 Mr. Deenihan asked the Minister for Education if he will outline the manner in which the £1.38 million was spent on preliminary investigations and other matters for the proposed national indoor stadium on the Customs House Docks site; and if he can justify the expenditure of such an enormous amount of money with no apparent return.

I propose to take Questions Nos. 16 and 171 together.

Expenditure to date on the project was as follows:


Fees to Touche Ross Consultants for financial feasibility study


Fees to CHDDA for preparation of development briefs


Fees to CHDDA for site purchase, site management and site security




Planning for the national indoor sports centre, including site acquisition, proceeded on the basis of Government decisions that the project would proceed. The scale and nature of the project as proposed necessitated detailed and complex preplanning by the Custom House Docks Development Authority in consultation with my Department and the level of fees paid are considered fair and reasonable and are consistent with the extent of the pre-planning work undertaken.

Payments in respect of CHDDA fees on site acquisition, site management and site security also reflect the lengthy and complex negotiations involved in the acquisition of title to over 20 individual properties on the 12 acre site.

The question of proceeding with the centre is still under review. I am determined to ensure that full value will be obtained by the State for expenditure already incurred in the preparatory stages of planning for the centre.

May I ask the Minister — he may have implied this in his answer — if he would agree that we should at least have a design or plan for a national sports stadium for expenditure of £1.38 million? Surely we should at least have a design for a national indoor stadium for this money. The Minister said that the idea of a national indoor stadium has not yet been abandoned. Can he give an indication as to the proposed location for a national indoor stadium, now that the Customs House Docks site has been abandoned? Will the Minister clarify his recent statement regarding the provision of a 50 metre swimming pool on the Belfield site?

As the Deputy is aware, the feasibility study was carried out in 1988. The plans envisaged at that stage would not be suitable today for a number of reasons. I should like to say to the Deputy that alternative sites for a stadium are being considered. The Deputy referred to the building of an Olympic-type swimming pool complex. I have not identified any specific site for such a complex yet but a number of sites are being investigated. I hope to make some progress in this regard in the not too distant future.

With regard to the availability of a plan, the feasibility studies and development briefs which were carried out can be reused in the event of the project being reactivated. I hope this can be done eventually.

May I ask the Minister when he proposes to put forward a new agenda for the building of a stadium? I should like to remind the Minister that the last project was announced on a number of occasions by the former Taoiseach on three occasions in this House and by his predecessors. Is the Minister making another announcement in this regard today?

A number of alternative proposals are being actively investigated at present. As the Deputy will appreciate, I have been in office for a short time only and I need a reasonable length of time to familiarise myself with this matter. As I said in the media, I regard the provision of a 50 metre swimming pool as a priority.

With regard to the building of an indoor sports stadium, it is important to remember that circumstances have changed in many respects since the feasibility study was carried out. I will read these out to the Deputy. They include the development of conference facilities at a number of locations throughout the city and country; the development of the Point Depot with a seating capacity for 9,000 patrons as a pop concert venue; the separate provision of a new badminton centre at Baldoyle under the regional programme; the refurbishment of the National Boxing Stadium which has seating capacity for 2,000; the inclusion of a national basketball stadium at Tallaght under the regional programme. This stadium will have seating capacity for 3,500 and will cater for all the major basketball events and provide facilities for other indoor games, for example volleyball, badminton and gymnastics. Finally, a house of sport facility has been developed in Walkinstown which acts as the headquarters for 13 national sporting organisations. All of these developments have taken place over the past number of years and they have changed the entire picture. Because of these changes, I hope to announce alternative plans in the not too distant future.

That disposes of Questions for today.