Written Answers. - Swimming Pool Projects.

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

251 Mr. O'Dowd asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the position regarding the proposed swimming pool for Drogheda; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3915/03]

Seamus Kirk

Question:

252 Mr. Kirk asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism if his Department has received an application from Drogheda Borough Council in respect of grant aid for a swimming pool in the town; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3992/03]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 251 and 252 together.

Under the local authority swimming pool programme which is administered by my Department, there are four stages in a swimming pool project following the submission of a feasibility study. These, in order of progress, are: preliminary report; contract documents; tender and construction. My Department's technical advisers, the Office of Public Works, evaluate each stage and local authorities cannot proceed to the next stage of a project unless prior approval issues from my Department. Grant aid is allocated only when tenders have been approved for the project and will be capped at the time of allocation.

Under the programme, grants up to a maximum of €3,809,214 are available towards both the refurbishment of existing pools and the provision of new pools, subject in both cases to the total grant not exceeding 80% of the eligible cost of the project or, in the case of projects located in designated disadvantaged areas, 90% of the eligible cost. Support is available towards the cost of the swimming pool, toddler pool, sauna and steam room.

In the case of the pool in question, Drogheda Borough Council has re-examined the design of the swimming pool and its funding proposals. The council submitted an addendum to the original preliminary report in respect of the Drogheda pool in early November. This documentation is currently being examined by the Office of Public Works. Once this assessment is complete, the proposal will be considered further.