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RDS joins the ranks of Ireland's 'national sporting arenas'

Leo Varadkar has formally designated Leinster’s homeground as a national area, joining other venues like Croke Park. Main advantage? It makes it easier to sell alcohol.

The RDS in Dublin 4: One of two venues in Dublin 4 to be designated a 'national sporting arena'.
The RDS in Dublin 4: One of two venues in Dublin 4 to be designated a 'national sporting arena'.
Image: INPHO/Dan Sheridan

TRANSPORT MINISTER Leo Varadkar has formally designated the main arena at the RDS as a ‘national sporting arena’.

The order, which took effect on February 7, means the RDS becomes the fifth arena in the country to enjoy the designation.

The title does not come with any particular meaning or status – but rather means that it’s easier for the operators of the stadium to obtain licences to sell alcohol at games.

Under legislation introduced by then-minister Mary Hanafin in 2005, stadiums designated as national sporting arenas are automatically entitled to alcohol licences from the Revenue Commissioners, upon payment of a flat €250 fee.

The idea behind the system is that it is easier for stadium operators to obtain a single licence than to have to obtain individual liquor licences for each of the bars that operate in a stadium.

It also means that stadium operators do not run the risk of losing their licence if there is anti-social behaviour on their premises, as stadium owners merely need to present tax clearance certificates and do not have to have their licences renewed in a court.

Holders of such licences are also permitted to sell alcoholic drinks from the time that people are permitted to enter the arena – and can continue selling alcohol for an hour after the event finishes, even if this passes the usual 11:30pm or 12:30am ‘last orders’ time.

Other venues which enjoy the designation include the Aviva Stadium, home of the Irish national rugby and soccer teams, Munster’s Thomond Park venue in Limerick, the GAA headquarters at Croke Park and the Tipperary GAA county ground at Semple Stadium.

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About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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