CONSTRUCTION OF a national stadium for Ireland is now expected to go ahead after the new government backed scheme.
The Stadium Ireland project has been dogged by controversy over spiralling costs and a shortage of public money to fund it.
Initial proposals were for a multi-sports stadium on a greenfield site in west Dublin, replacing Lansdowne Road for both soccer and rugby internationals.
Cost was estimated at £158M.
The government then upgraded the scheme to an 80,000 seater stadium with a vast 2,000ha sports campus.
This included a velodrome, aquatic centre, golf academy and offices for sports organisations.
A row over the escalating costs threatened to bring down the government, amid a weakening in public finances after 11 September.
A report for the government by consultant High Point Rendel in January revealed that the costs could escalate to £687.5M, though the figure was disputed by the promoter, Sports Campus Ireland.
The scheme was shelved but last week the new administration committed itself to building a 'world class stadium' as part of its programme.
The government is now to study the High Point Rendel report before deciding on what type of stadium to build. A decision is needed quickly to allow design to proceed, as the stadium forms the centrepiece of Ireland's bid to host the Euro 2008 soccer championships with Scotland.
Sources said a decision could be expected within weeks. Five international consortia were shortlisted to bid for the design, build, finance, operate and maintain contract. These included Multiplex, Bovis Lend Lease and Brown & Root.