Ireland’s long-awaited national conference centre moved a step closer today as the Government revealed plans to locate the 2,000-seater arena at Spencer Dock, near Dublin port.
Attracting thousands of high spending visitors a year, the €400 facility on the docklands site could be open by 2009.
John O’Donoghue, Arts Minister, welcomed the move and said the Government could be ready to make a final decision on the centre by next year.
“I am delighted that a further critical stage in the process of delivering a world-class National Conference Centre for Dublin has been completed,” he said.
“On the basis of consultations undertaken earlier by my Department and research reviewed, I am totally convinced of the need for a modern, dedicated National Conference Centre if Ireland is to realise its full potential in the hugely valuable international conference market.”
The Spencer Dock consortium, led by Treasury Holdings, aims to build the facility on Spencer Dock, where the River Liffey meets the Royal Canal.
Developers expect the arena to create around 3,000 jobs, generating 60 million euro in tourist revenue every year.
Original proposals for the project, which has been in the pipeline for over 10 years, estimated that it could be completed by 2007.
Subject to negotiations with the Office of Public Works and the Contracting Authority, a spokesman for the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism said work could begin some time in 2006 as planning permission has already been granted.
It has also been suggested that the centre could be up and running by 2009.
Mr O’Donoghue added that he was particularly pleased the Government had taken a step closer to meeting its commitment to having a National Conference Centre.
The Anna Livia Consortium, led by Bennet Construction, had a bid for the project rejected. They planned to build the centre on a Dublin docklands site, close to the Point Depot and the Port Tunnel.