I propose to take Questions Nos. 1140 and 1141 together.
I would like to set out the background to the funding allocated to the organisation mentioned by the Deputy, the Football Association of Ireland (FAI).
Each year, as part of the normal Estimates process, officials in my Department engage with Sport Ireland regarding its funding requirements for the coming year. In a submission to my Department dated July 2016, Sport Ireland identified a range of measures for which it was seeking additional funding in the 2017 Estimates. These measures included funding to support a proposal it had received from the FAI and which Sport Ireland was interested in supporting if funding was available to allow it to do so. The proposal related to the provision of financial support for the women’s international team for soccer with a view to strengthening Ireland’s chances of qualifying for the finals of major tournaments. The level of funding received in Budget 2017 was not sufficient to allow Sport Ireland to fund this measure.
I can inform the Deputy that a copy of the funding proposal was received in my office in October 2016 and was forwarded to Sport Ireland for their attention. In its submission for the 2018 Estimates, Sport Ireland once again identified this as a funding measure which they would support if funding was available.
In June 2017, the CEO of the FAI requested a meeting with the Minister of State for Tourism and Sport and me to brief us on progress within the women's game and to discuss areas where my Department could assist the organisation in its efforts to positively drive the women's game forward. Minister Brendan Griffin and I, accompanied by an official, met with the CEO and another representative from the FAI on 12 July 2017 at which they made a presentation on developments in the women's game, including their proposal for Government support. Minister Griffin and I undertook to consider the proposal.
In October 2017, having considered the proposal and having secured a modest increase for sport in the 2018 Budget Estimates, Minister Griffin and I indicated that the Government would facilitate increased support for the women's game as part of our commitment to develop women's sport from grassroots to elite levels. In March 2018, I wrote to the CEO of Sport Ireland directing Sport Ireland to allocate funding support of €195,000 to the FAI for state support of the women's national team programme.
As a normal part of the Estimates process, my officials had discussions with Sport Ireland in 2017 on its submission for the 2018 Estimates, which would have included discussion of this funding proposal. My officials also had discussions and correspondence with Sport Ireland and the FAI regarding how the funding would be allocated for the women’s teams.
As the allocation of the funding to the FAI and the terms and conditions for the funding, including assurances regarding the use of the funding, are a matter for Sport Ireland, I have referred the Deputy's question to Sport Ireland for direct reply in relation to the amount of funding that was issued to the organisation and the terms and conditions that were put in place. Please inform my office if a reply is not received within 10 days.