Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Questions (814)

Ruth Coppinger

Question:

814. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his views on reduced rates for children and for groups of children such as siblings in public sports facilities such as the National Aquatic Centre; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23875/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

Sport Ireland is the statutory body with responsibility for the operation of facilities at the National Sports Campus, including the National Aquatic Centre. I have referred the Deputy's question to Sport Ireland for direct reply on this matter. Please contact my office if a reply is not received with 10 days.

The vast majority of public sports facilities are owned and operated by Local Authorities and many offer reduced rates for children and other users. In the National Sports Policy 2018-2027, the Government underlined that Local Authorities are well positioned to take a leading role at local level, working with Local Sports Partnerships and other relevant stakeholders to offer opportunities for all members of their communities to participate in sport and physical activity. My Department and Sport Ireland work in collaboration with Local Authorities, for instance at the Sports Leadership Group which includes a local government representative, the Chief Executive of South Dublin County Council, Mr Daniel McLoughlin.

The National Sports Policy 2018-2027 also considered the issue of access to facilities. It recognised that while the majority of primary schools must access a swimming pool in the community to fulfil the aquatics strand of the PE curriculum, there is no specific funding available to help them defray costs like transport and facility hire. In this context, the National Sports Policy includes an action that my Department will work with relevant stakeholders to explore the merits of a new programme of current sports funding under a targeted scheme to support schools on a sustainable basis in defraying reasonable costs (such as necessary transport and facility hire) incurred in delivering the aquatics strand of the PE curriculum.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A