Ireland Make The Right Decision!
In a momentous decision that should be celebrated all over Scotland and Ireland (well, by football fans in the countries anyway!), the Irish Government have agreed to build a new national stadium. This will fulfill part of their end of the EURO2008 bargain between Scotland and Ireland as the two countries strive to host the second biggest football party in the world in 6 years time. The newly re-elected Taoiseach, Berti Ahren, has had a long cherished dream to have the stadium built as part of a sporting complex which could handle all sports. In the lead up to the recent Irish elections his plans for a giant sports campus project on the outskirts of Dublin appeared to be in trouble.
Stadium Ireland on the map
However, his partners in the previous coalition government, Progressive Democrats (PD), and their leader Mary Harney were strongly against the investment of the significant sums required (estimated to be 1 billion Euros) in a single project. However, as both Ahern's Fianna Fail party and the PDs strengthened their positions in the election they agreed to re-enter government together and they overcame their difficulties and agreed that a "world-class national stadium" would be built. The ground will not be of the same size as originally planned (80,000 seater) but it will meet the criteria set by UEFA for grounds to be used for their premier international tournament.
The newly finalised Irish Programme for Government says: "We will start work on the construction of a world-class national stadium. We will build facilities... which will serve the needs of the sporting bodies both nationally and locally. The Minister for Sport, in conjunction with Campus and Stadium Ireland Development, the national sporting bodies and the Office of Public Works will bring forward the plans and implementation proposals of these policies in the most cost-effective way as soon as possible."
You will remember that Ireland have promised two stadiums and the other is most likely to be the run down Lansdowne Road. The Irish Rugby Football Union had refused to even consider their ground to be used unless the new stadium was built. The historic agreement re "Berti's Bowl" removes that barrier. This means that the joint Scotland and Ireland bid officially lodged with UEFA last week will have a full set of stadiums in place when the bids are considered. The final decision on who will host the tournament is due to be made in December.
Sighs of relief all round
SCOTLANDIRELAND EURO2008? WHY THE HELL NOT!
Ger Harley (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Shane Knox (email@example.com)
Al McIntosh (Al@scottishfitba.net)
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