THE Government has approved plans for Ireland's first purpose-built velodrome at the Abbots-town Sports Campus in west Dublin, just weeks before the Giro d'Italia cycling race comes to Ireland.
"It's still very early days and construction funding has not yet been allocated, but a velodrome would be a tremendous asset for the campus," said Sports Minister Leo Varadkar.
"Cycling is a hugely popular sport in Ireland at both amateur and elite levels, and a velodrome would help us to grow the sport further.
"These initial design and planning works will allow the authority to proceed straight to tender if construction funding becomes available."
Mr Varadkar signed off on a proposal from the National Sports Campus to proceed with planning and design works for the velodrome.
A spokesman for the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport said funding is only available for the planning and design phases of the project.
"However, if planning permission is secured, and if funding becomes available, work could start on the velodrome later this year," he added.
The planned velodrome is being welcomed as a massive boost to Irish cycling.
"It's very positive news," said Geoff Liffey, CEO of Cycling Ireland.
It is estimated that the building, which will house the new 250-metre indoor track, will cost €8m.
Day three of the Giro d'Italia finishes in Dublin city centre on Sunday, May 11.