I propose to take Questions Nos. 101, 108 and 115 together.
The commitment as outlined in the programme for Government, to complete a national audit of local sports facilities, is being undertaken as part of the development of a long-term strategic plan for the provision of sports facilities. The first step towards developing such a strategy, a review of the existing sports capital programme under the Department's expenditure review programme, is currently being finalised. The outcome of this review will help identify the level of facilities that have been put in place in recent years with the assistance of national lottery funding, and produce recommendations on priorities for future funding.
Following this, I intend to establish an interagency steering group to begin work immediately on developing a long-term strategic plan for the provision of sports facilities. One of the first tasks for this group will be to oversee the commencement of the audit of sports facilities. Given the volume of facilities that may potentially be included in such an audit, covering the entire country, it is important that a robust methodology is used to record, classify and assess the facilities to be included.
In light of the enormity of the task, it could take a number of years to complete a comprehensive audit of all sports facilities. However, it may be possible to conduct the work in stages, to ensure that some useful results are available in the short term for input into the proposed strategic plan for the provision of sports facilities due for completion within the next year.
Once completed, the audit will enable policy makers to map the location of the various sports facilities throughout the country, leading to a more effective targeting of new or additional facilities which will complement rather than duplicate what is already available. In this way, a more efficient use of financial resources can be achieved, and a fostering of greater co-operation between complementary facility providers can be encouraged.