Irish Premier Division football club Finn Harps has been given the go-ahead to build its new Donegal Community Stadium after the government approved a €4m (£3.3m/$4.1m) contribution to the project.
Jack Chambers, Minister of State at the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport, and Media, signed off on the funding, paving the way for Finn Harps to begin work on the project.
In May, the club revised its plans for the stadium amid concerns over the cost of the project. Planning permission was first sought in 2005 but the development had since stalled.
Although €1m had already been spent on the project in Stranorlar, the previous price tag of €11.5m was expected to rise due to changes in the cost of construction. The revised plans maintained capacity at the planned 6,130, but the number of seats were slashed by around half to help bring the budget down to €8m and it has now been reported that the budget will be as low as €5.5m.
It has now been confirmed that the government will provide €4m of the budget, while the club, the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) and Donegal County Council will each contribute €500,000, according to Donegal Live.
The council has reportedly only agreed to support the project if Finn Harps raises the additional funding. A club spokesman told Donegal Live: “It’s up to the club now. If we raise our part of the money, the stadium is good to go.”
Finn Harps’ current home, Finn Park, is restricted to a seating capacity of 300 due to its rundown nature, with the FAI having granted the club permission to continue playing games on the basis that a new stadium will be delivered.
The Donegal Community Stadium will form part of a wider Sports Centre of Excellence, which includes athletics and swimming facilities, football pitches and a leisure centre.
Image: Finn Harps