FAI, IRFU should put their hands in their pockets

Isn’t it the most outrageous cheek of the IRFU and the FAI to expect the Government to build them a stadium for nothing? These are the sporting bodies that extol the virtues of professional sport and yet they seem incapable of providing facilities for themselves.

The IRFU have been particularly sly in this regard. They are sitting on wads of cash, riches in property and an unequalled access to corporate wealth. Yet they chose to sit tight and see would Santa arrive with his pressies. Meanwhile Lansdowne Road has declined to the level of an embarrassment.

At least the FAI went about providing themselves with a home. They have a right to feel sore about the latest in the BertieBowl saga. They are the victims of a scam which turned all logic on its head.

The Government wouldn’t give them a penny to build Eircom Park but offered them some €160 million over ten years not to build it. Am I the only one who thinks this situation is absurdly perverse?

And the GAA were given €80m on the night before a vote to open Croke Park to other sports. The expected necessary 66% became 65% and the rest is history.

So the whole episode has been straight from the theatre of the ridiculous and if Bertie Ahern has come out of it looking like a right chump it’s because he deserves it.

But on to the task in hand.

The idea that someone is going to come along and shell out €300m to build a National Stadium out of the goodness of their hearts is pretty optimistic.

The obvious alternative is that the IRFU and the FAI form a consortium to build such a stadium. The FAI had already raised over €100m for Eircom Park and the IRFU could easily match that. If JP McManus is still willing to contribute €63.5m then a second stadium is a serious possibility. It is inconceivable that such a proposal would not attract some Government funding at some stage.

And remember. If the stadium were to be build in under aegis of the Government the GAA is still committed to playing two major matches a year in it. There could be a strong case for the Leinster Council to play any match with an expected attendance of under 60,000 in an Abbotstown stadium in order to take the pressure off Croke Park in late summer. (Why should the Leinster Council have the run of Croke Park anyway?)

There’s the guts of a proposal. Now whether they should be building at Abbotstown or Lansdowne Road is another argument. Whatever, we should be grateful that taxpayer’s money isn’t going to be thrown around like snuff at a wake.The Backweston farce

Before anyone forgets, this Government has already spent €217m to move the State Laboratories from Abbotstown to Backweston. This money was spent entirely to make room for the BertieBowl. There was absolutely no other reason to spend this money.

The HPR study said that the State Laboratories would have needed extra facilities anyway. This could have been achieved with a couple of new buildings on the Abbotstown site. And the €217m did not include any moving costs for staff or facilities. Or the cost of the land.

The Government slyly tried to dress this move up as some sort of decentralisation. Moving agri facilities to the country, sort of thing. The talk was about moving to Kildare.

The fact is that Backweston farm is actually in County Dublin. It is 6.5 miles from Abbotstown. That’s €34 million per mile of ‘decentralisation’. Not quite the same as moving to west Cork, is it?

As well as that…

Someone explain Rule 42 to me

The GAA insist that any move to allow soccer and rugby in Croke Park must involve a vote of GAA Congress to overturn Rule 42. Let’s read Rule 42.

42. Uses Of Property:

(a) All property including grounds, Club Houses, Halls, Dressing Rooms and Handball Alleys owned or controlled by units of the Association shall be used only for the purpose of or in connection with the playing of the games controlled by the Association, and for such other purposes not in conflict with the Aims and Objects of the Association, that may be sanctioned from time to time by the Central Council.

(b) Grounds controlled by Association units shall not be used or permitted to be used, for Horse Racing, Greyhound Racing or for field games other than those sanctioned by Central Council.

I think this means that Central Council could sanction rugby and soccer without a vote of Congress. If anyone out there with a few bob was willing to back me, I’ll bet that a High Court Judicial Review would say that the Central Council could sanction other sports if it wanted to.

Alternatively, someone please explain what I’m missing in that text.