Development Plan at Curragh Given Initial Go-Ahead

The Irish Turf Club has been granted planning permission to realign 1.1 kilometers (about 0.68 miles) of the major road to the north of the existing Curragh Racecourse, Ireland's most prestigious, enabling a redevelopment that will cost 70 million euros to go ahead.

Pierce Molony, senior steward of the Turf Club, commented: "The current road between the racecourse and the Stand House Hotel will become part of the enclosure and create an opportunity for a world-class racecourse. "We will now submit plans to Kildare County Council for the new grandstand which we hope to erect on the current road. Plans are at an advanced stage. We hope to commence work early in 2006 and we are actively discussing temporary and long-term arrangements with our neighbors so that the project causes the minimum of inference."

The Stand House Hotel, adjacent to the racecourse, has been donated by the Aga Khan to the Turf Club, while the remaining land required for the project is already owned by the club.

The racecourse and the Stand House Hotel will both remain open for business through all phases of the development, which will be funded from Turf Club reserves, a grant from Horse Racing Ireland and bank borrowings.