In relation to the college referred to by the Deputy, my Department was previously made aware of local concerns relating to the continued sporting use of facilities which had received funding under the Sports Capital Programme. The facilities also received RAPID funding from the then Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. On foot of the concerns raised, my Department engaged in a series of correspondence with the college to seek clarification in this regard and assurances that the grant aided facilities would remain in sporting use. My Department also inspected the site in June 2017 to ensure that the terms and conditions of the original grant were being adhered to. It should be noted that the concerns raised related to one particular room within the overall sports complex which was previously being used as a gymnasium.
Following this inspection, the college was asked to provide a report on the usage of the overall facility and to provide evidence of how it was proposed to continue the sporting usage of the room which was the subject of the original complaint. The college provided this material in October 2017 including details of the external users of the facility, the charges being imposed and also included evidence of efforts to secure additional users for the facilities in the future.
Accordingly, my Department was satisfied that the college was then compliant with the terms and conditions of the Sports Capital Programme and the deed of covenant and charge which guarantees that the facilities will stay in sporting use for a period of 15 years from the date of the payment of the last instalment of the grant. The terms and conditions of the Sports Capital Programme do not allow the Department to dictate particular usage arrangements for a facility so long as the overall requirement to maintain the facility for sporting purposes is maintained.
My Department recently contacted the College seeking a further update on the current use of the grant aided facilities. The College's response will be fully considered in the context of the terms and conditions of the original grant.