06 Dec 2021

Doubt for building new €30 million Laois indoor sports arena

Doubt for building new €30 million Laois indoor sports arena

Portlaoise Panthers Jasmine Burke in action; club has requested indoor arena for Laois.

A new feasibility study is to be carried out on the chances of building a public indoor sports arena in Portlaoise for various uses including basketball.

However such an arena could cost €30 million to build, and the CEO of Laois County Council has expressed doubts about how it could be funded due to the cost.

Laois County Council is giving €10,000 from its 2022 budget to fund a feasibility study for the arena, with a location not yet decided.

CEO John Mulholland spoke at the annual budget meeting.

“While we might be ambitious locally, to have a fabulous new centre, we have to cut our cloth to measure. I couldn’t see on the basis of the last feasibility report, that Laois County council, even with state aid under the sports capital programme, could afford anything in the order of €25 to €30 million. 

“We all have to decide what location is best and what is the optimum size of an indoor sports facility that will cater for basketball, badminton and other such sports,”

“On the review of the feasibility study for a basketball or sports hall, we have to come back to the elected members and we have to all agree what we are looking for under a social review,” Mr Mulholland said. 

He said that Director of Services Donal Brennan had been working on the issue for up to  nine months.

“This will come back to you as members before we move forward on it but I think it is important that we referred to it in the budget report for 2022,” the CEO said.

An indoor hall has been sought for some years, with local basketball club Portlaoise Panthers campaigning publicly for it. 

Cllr Willie Aird had said there was local confusion as to where the centre would be built.

“I thought we were trying to promote it on the land we bought at Tyrrells. We have 20 acres there, we should be concentrating our money on it. It has to be seen as a facility for everybody,” he said.

Meanwhile residents next to Tyrrell’s land are concerned about the development plans, which are currently on public display.

Cllr Noel Tuohy has raised concerns on behalf of residents of a housing estate who will have  walkway directly into the new nature amenity area.

“Glendowns residents have certain worries, I ask that they be kept in the loop,” he said.

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