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Sports chiefs sign up to develop new national sports campus in Blanchardstown

GAELIC, rugby, soccer and hockey chiefs have signed up to plans to develop the new National Sports Campus.

Sports Minister Leo Varadkar revealed the four major sporting bodies have agreed to build their own sections of the long-awaited ground.

He maintained that despite the economic climate the Government, GAA, the IRFU, the FAI and the Irish Hockey Association were committed to the scheme.

The GAA's ambitious plans include five pitches - including a replica of Croke Park for training and tournaments and an all-weather pitch.

It is understood each organisation will fork out about half a million euro - to be matched by the Government.

Meanwhile, the National Sports Campus Development Authority (NSCDA) - appointed to drive the project for the 520 acre site in Blanchardstown, west Dublin - will launch a campaign for private funding for a national indoor training arena.

"All four bodies have agreed in principle to develop their sections of the campus," said Mr Varadkar.

"For its part, the Government has allocated funding to develop the vital access route and provide serviced infrastructure this year.

"The Government has also provided a limited and equal financial incentive of matching funding for each body to commence development as soon as possible."

Work on the access road and serviced infrastructure will begin in September and will be completed by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, work on refurbishing an existing building on site as a new Irish Sport HQ for around 19 national governing bodies of sport is under way and is scheduled for completion by November.

The FAI, the National Aquatic Centre and the Irish Institute of Sport are already on site.

Sean Benton, the newly-appointed NSCDA chairman, said the authority was equally confident that a vital piece of Irish national sporting infrastructure will be established at Blanchardstown.

"We are totally committed to the creation of a world-class facility which will provide our sportsmen and sportswomen with the facilities which they deserve as they continue to do us all proud," he added.

"We are delighted with the Government's renewed commitment to the project."