By Gordon Deegan
The Royal Dublin Society (RDS) has secured the go-ahead for a new three-tier 6,481 capacity Anglesea Stand at the RDS that is set to increase the current €24.7m annual spend by Leinster rugby supporters attending rugby matches at the stadium.
It follows Dublin City Council giving the plan the go-ahead after finding that the planned stand will “provide a modern stand facility with enhanced hospitality facilities for visitors and patrons”.
The RDS told the city council that the increased capacity is essential for securing some of the high-profile events which the RDS is expected to host to remain attractive in an increasingly competitive field.
The existing Anglesea stand was built in the early 1930s and can accommodate 5,743 in rugby mode and its proposed replacement will accommodate 6,481 patrons, representing an increase of 738.
The new plan involves a new three-level grandstand with a connected two level hospitality and services building called the ‘Pocket Building’.
Planning had been previously been granted for the redevelopment of the stand but the new stand won’t be completed before this permission expires, necessitating the need for the new planning application.
Consultants for the RDS told the Council that the multi-purpose RDS arena “is a significant contributor to the economy of Dublin with an overall estimated combined economic impact of €136.5m to €166m for rugby games, concert events and the annual horse show”.
The application has the support of the IRFU with chief executive of the IRFU, Philip Browne telling Dublin City Council that the proposed development will underpin the Leinster rugby operations at the RDS.
Mr Browne said: “The new development will enhance the sponsorship potential of Leinster rugby thereby helping it to retain its best players and to continue to develop the sport in Dublin and throughout Leinster”.
Mr Browne went on to state that the “proposed redeveloped Anglesea Stand will enhance and rejuvenate the facility which is no longer compatible with visitor expectations”.
CEO of Horse Sport Ireland, Ronan Murphy and CEO of Leinster rugby, Michael Dawson, also wrote to the Council to endorse the plan.
Mr Murphy wrote that the proposed redevelopment of the stand “is a necessary part of the infrastructure that will support the further growth in the sports horse industry which supports 14,057 jobs in the sector and is worth €816m to the Irish economy”.
As part of the application, the direct spend by spectators at Leinster games at the RDS is €1.9m per match with the cumulative direct expenditure at €24.7m.