Tuesday, 4 July 2006

Ceisteanna (358)

John Perry

Ceist:

371 Mr. Perry asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism if his attention has been drawn to the vital importance of the Morton Stadium, Santry to the promotion of track and field athletics here over the past fifty years; if he will take the necessary steps to ensure that this facility continues to be a high quality athletics stadium available to the sport of track and field athletics for use as and when required; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26011/06]

Amharc ar fhreagra

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

Morton Stadium, Santry is owned and operated by Fingal County Council and therefore the management and use of the stadium is essentially a matter for Fingal County Council. Nonetheless, as Minister with responsibility for Sport, I fully appreciate of the importance of this Stadium to athletics and for this reason, in 2003, I directed that funding of up to €200,000 per annum should be provided in financial support towards the operational costs and upkeep of the Stadium. Since 2002 a very significant level of Exchequer funded support has been provided by the Irish Sports Council to enable the Stadium to continue in operation, amounting in total to €792,000.

In addition, funding in excess of €2.74million has been provided in Capital grants through my Department for improvement of the Stadium's facilities over the past few years, including €275,000 provided in 2003 for refurbishment of the Stadium in preparation for the Special Olympic World Summer Games, and €245,000 allocated in 2004 for refurbishment of the track and specific athletic facilities.

In addition to financial support, Fingal County Council is assisted in the running of Morton Stadium by a Management Committee that includes representatives both of the Irish Sports Council and my Department. The Management Committees objective is to ensure that the Stadium and its facilities are maintained at an acceptable standard and remain available for use both as training facility and for major spectator events by athletics. Any future proposals for the use of Morton Stadium will be considered so as to ensure that the Stadium is operated in a cost effective and efficient manner and continues to be available to meet the needs of Athletics.