Abbottstown is back on – big time. You could see the glint in Bertie’s eye. Like a ticket tout at a big gig, we’re just an hour away from London and we might as well cash in on it.
The BertieBowl and the sports campus that was to surround it, was a big idea waiting for a reason to build it. Now, a lot of the cost has gone out of it.
Firstly, the state science labs were moved at absolutely ridiculous cost and for no good reason. a sort of a five mile decentralisation, if you like, to the other side of Lucan.
Secondly, the National Aquatic Centre is now built (with the odd hiccup, right enough). The €62m facility has been acknowledged as world class.
Finally, the BertieBowl is now out of the equation, with its price tag of €500m plus.
After all that, the rest of the sports facilities are those we should have anyway, even if we never stage the Olympics.
We could do with a multi-purpose indoor facility, similar to the Odyssey in Belfast for cycling, ice hockey, boxing, and so on.
With these facilities in place, we could look forward to many bookings from teams heading to the London Olympics.
The one dream that has surely died is the one about a Dublin Olympics. Oddly enough, the dream is fading even though we could probably now afford to stage it. The olympics cost Greece some €7 billion, no problem to a country with a budget surplus like ours.
No, the reason we couldn’t get the olympics is that we would never win the politics. Even a country the size of France has been a serial failure at bidding time.
2020 would be the next earliest European Olympics. I’m afraid London is as near as we’ll ever get.
Euro athletics for Dublin?
I had the pleasure of attending the European Athletics Championships in Stuttgart in 1986 and for someone who has no interest in athletics I can say that it was a fantastic occasion.
I haven’t the slightest doubt that a Dublin athletics championships would be hugely successful. Irish people love the big occasions (witness the U2 gigs).
Croke Park would be a super venue, possibly with a raised floor to accommodate the running track. The 2006 games will be held in Gothenburg, a city smaller than Dublin, in a stadium that holds 45,000 people.
We could do that.
And now the Euro athletics people have decided to run the games every two years instead of four at present.
What are we waiting for?
Anyone know what happened to the Dublin International Sports Council or DISC, which was supposed to campaign for international sports events in Dublin?
I rang their number but got a message from Eircom that the number was dead. I checked out their web address – http://www.discireland.ie but no such website could be found.
This is very strange. Sport is big business and we should be in with a shout for these events. Who’s planning our strategies now?