Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Ceisteanna (505)

Bernard Allen


622 Mr. Allen asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism if he will make finding available to have a hyperbaric recompression chamber located within Munster. [1800/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism)

The Department of Health and Children, which has primary responsibility in relation to the provision of hyperbaric recompression chambers, has already accepted the need to replace the chamber at University College Galway. The Irish Underwater Council, Comhairle Fó-Thuinn (CFT), is the national governing body for underwater sport. CFT has also decided that, in terms of the provision of hyperbaric recompression chambers, its priority is for having such a facility at University College Hospital, Galway.

The national lottery-funded sports capital programme, which is administered by my Department, allocates funding towards the provision of sporting and recreational facilities to sporting and community organisations at local, regional and national level throughout the country. The programme is advertised on an annual basis. The 2004 sports capital programme was advertised in the national newspapers on 30 November and 1 December 2003. The closing date for receipt of applications was 16 January 2004. I am aware that an application has been received from CFT in respect of the hyperbaric recompression chamber in Galway. No application has been submitted from CFT, or indeed any other organisation, in recent years in respect of such a facility in Munster.

The application from CFT, like all others under the programme, will be evaluated against the 2004 programme's assessment criteria, which are outlined in the guidelines, terms and conditions of the programme. In this instance, my Department will also be consulting with the Department of Health and Children, which is currently in discussions with the Western Health Board regarding proposals for replacing the recompression chamber in Galway. I intend to announce the grant allocations for the sports capital programme as soon as possible after the assessment process has been completed.