Wednesday, 20 October 2004

Questions (123, 124)

Seán Crowe

Question:

224 Mr. Crowe asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism his proposals to use his office to investigate activities regarding the Tallaght stadium in view of the large amount of public funding invested in same; and if he will report on this matter. [25622/04]

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Charlie O'Connor

Question:

226 Mr. O’Connor asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism if he will report on recent contacts with a football club (details supplied) regarding its unfinished stadium; if his attention has been drawn to the widespread concern in the region that the community has been left with a serious eyesore; the action open to him; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25720/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 224 and 226 together.

Following applications from the club, grants totalling €2.57 million were allocated, under the sports capital programme, towards the development of a new stadium in Tallaght for the club referred to by the Deputy, Shamrock Rovers Football Club, in each of the years 2000, 2001 and 2002. This project was identified as a priority by the, Football Association of Ireland, FAI, to receive funding under the programme.

Of the funding allocated, €2,441,251 was paid to the club in 2001 and 2002 in respect of works certified by invoices and approved by the Office of Public Works, which acts as technical advisers to my Department. These combined payments represent 95% of the total grants allocated; the remaining 5%, in this case €128,487, is retained in accordance with standard practice pending the receipt of certification of completion of the defects liability period of the project.

Following considerable rises in project costs since 2002, the club advised my Department that it was in discussions with a number of interested parties in an effort to secure additional funding to complete the project. It has not, however, provided my Department with information on the current status of these discussions despite repeated requests to do so. My Department has discussed the importance of bringing this project to a satisfactory conclusion at meetings with the Football Association of Ireland and with South Dublin County Council on a number of occasions and remains committed to constructive engagement with the parties involved.