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Friday, 27 April, 2001, 16:39 GMT 17:39 UK
Stadium Ireland may be scaled down
Republic of Ireland's Matt Holland (centre)
International football is planned for Stadium Ireland
The Irish government is likely to scale down the planned Stadium Ireland after internal government pressure over escalating costs.

On Thursday, Mary Harney, Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the junior partners in the minority coalition government, likened the project to the Millennium Dome.

Some estimates have put the final cost of the project at IR£1 billion (£800,000).

However, Prime Minster Bertie Ahern has moved swiftly to assuage fears over the project.

Irish newspapers reported on Friday that Mr Ahern was willing to make amendments to the ensure the future of the multi-purpose sports complex.

"Costs have been going up," he said. "We have to watch the cost and of course we'll do that."

Mary Harney
Harney: stadium another Millennium Dome

A spokesperson for Mrs Harney played down suggestions that the issue might bring down the government but added:

"But the issue is a matter of principle for her and the party, and the costings have to be got right."

In a separate newspaper interview, Mrs Harney said: "If the party in Government can't live with a particular decision, then the consequences of that are obvious."

Meanwhile, the Leader of the Opposition Michael Noonan has proposed that Croke Park, headquarters of the Gaelic Athletic Association, be converted into the national stadium.

He called the stadium, dubbed "Bertie's Bowl" as an ego trip for the Prime Minister.

He said: "I will not, as Taoiseach (Prime Minister), be bound by any commitment that this present Taoiseach enters into about the stadium."

See also:

26 Apr 01 | N Ireland
11 Apr 01 | N Ireland
10 Apr 01 | N Ireland
08 Apr 01 | N Ireland
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