Currently short on capital funding, Leinster Rugby and the RDS are engaged in talks with the Government with a view to beginning the development of their grounds at the RDS in Dublin's Ballsbridge.
However, an adequate financial package to cover the entire cost of €50 million for the large scale sports infrastructure fund has yet to be put in place.
The project has planning permission and an architectural design has been selected but the funds to pay for the proposed new grounds remain €10 million short of what is required.
There is also a time issue regarding the project as planning permission, which was granted in 2016, is set to expire in 2023. A tenant of the RDS, Leinster Rugby has been playing at the grounds since 2007 and has a 25-year agreement in place with the Society.
Because of the ongoing process with Government, there are no start or completion dates set as it is unknown if funding will be approved and building work can begin on the grounds, which currently hosts most of Leinster’s home games in the United Rugby Championship and Champions Cup tournaments.
It is not the only time financing of the project has been delayed due to cost. The original figure when the plan was first mooted was €26 million and that was put on hold in 2018 as Leinster then waited to hear if they were successful with an application for Government funding as part of a major sports capital programme.
“We [already] have €10 million from the Government and we are looking for additional funding for the project,” said a spokesperson for the RDS. “The cost of the project is €50 million. Costs have gone up. We have €40 million secured at the moment so there is an outstanding amount of €10 million.
“We are currently talking to the Government, to Catherine Martin’s department and a few other ministers as well in relation to securing that amount. We are ready to go and we have the planning permission so it is about securing the extra funding.”
Trinity College's former chief operating officer, Geraldine Ruane, was named as the new chief executive of the RDS last year and took up office this year following the retirement of former chief executive Michael Duffy.
“There is an ongoing conversation with the Government,” added the spokesperson. “It’s is a case of maybe seeing if there is any more money in the National Development Plan for this. Yes it is the same design. That has not changed. We are absolutely 100 per cent optimistic about it going ahead.”
Speaking at a virtual Town Hall in the summer of 2020 with Leinster coach Leo Cullen, Leinster chief executive Mick Dawson told the Official Leinster Supporters Club that they continued to be encouraged about the development of the grounds.
“We have planning permission to build a very fine new stand there with very fine hospitality facilities,” he said. “It would increase the crowd by about 1,500/2,000 people. It would be state-of-the-art.”