THE many events held in Thomond Park Stadium since its redevelopment have contributed in excess of €132 million in value to the local economy, a new independent economic impact study has revealed.
The study, conducted by Focus Consulting, reveals that the entire list of sporting, entertainment and business events held at the stadium - up until the beginning of the current rugby season - have generated more than €132 million for the local economy.
This figure was pointed to as evidence of the stadium’s worth to Limerick and was highlighted as a new ‘Community Sponsorship Fund’ was launched, which will “ensure the local community benefits socially from the success of the stadium”, management revealed, noting that they were “mindful of the impact that the stadium has locally, both from a social and economic perspective”.
Munster’s Paul O’Connell and Keith Earls joined with Mayor of Limerick Maria Byrne and Thomond Park stadium chief John Cantwell to launch the new fund this week, which aims to further progress a range of local community development initiatives already established and being run by Thomond Park since its renovation in 2008.
Mr Cantwell explained that the fund will work with a wide range of local community groups and organisations to support new programmes and purchase equipment, with a “five-figure sum set aside per annum” for the fund.
“We would be very aware of our community responsibility and we are part of the community and we have been working on a number of initiatives which we run on an ongoing basis,” said Mr Cantwell.
“We would be very conscious of the place Thomond Park holds in the community and we are looking to formalise that in a tangible way,” said the Thomond Park boss.
“We need to run many events to keep the place operational, it is a big place with overheads like any other business and that dictates that we have increased activity, not just Munster rugby games, but concerts and other events and there is a lot more activity around the area and we are conscious of that, so this is a positive action in terms of counteracting that and working with the local community,” he added.
Speaking at the launch, flying Munster winger Keith Earls said the development of the fund would “make a real difference for local community projects and build further on the stadium’s place in our community”.
“Growing up near the stadium you appreciate what it means to the local community and the pride we take in it,” explained Earls, who grew up in the shadow of the stadium in Moyross.
The fund will be administered through a newly appointed ‘Community Fund Board’, who are linked to the Board of Management in the stadium, but will remain independent.
“We would welcome applications which would be assessed by an independent committee, who are newly appointed and will have an independent remit. There is only a certain amount available so it will have to be shared. We would welcome big and small projects,” added Mr Cantwell.
An application form for the Community Sponsorship Fund can be downloaded from www.thomondpark.ie.
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