Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Ceisteanna (30, 31, 32, 33)

Damien English

Ceist:

81 Deputy Damien English asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the implications the withdrawal of a company (details supplied) from FAI ticket sales has for the Government’s investment in the Lansdowne stadium; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24477/08]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Perry

Ceist:

100 Deputy John Perry asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism if there has been contact or discussions between him and either the FAI or the IRFU since the withdrawal of a company (details supplied) from ticket sales for the FAI; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24519/08]

Amharc ar fhreagra

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

I propose to take Questions Nos. 81 and 100 together.

The Government's financial commitment to the development of a new stadium at Lansdowne Road is €191m and the grant is capped at that level. The balance of the cost is to be met by the IRFU and the FAI. The arrangements for the development of the stadium, including the respective financial contributors, are part of a legal agreement between the Department and the Lansdowne Road Development Company, which comprises the IRFU and the FAI. As part of this agreement the Department arranged for due diligence to be carried out on the capacity of both organisations to fund their contribution to the project and the Department has been satisfied in that regard.

The project is overseen by a Steering Group which is chaired by the Secretary General of the Department and any issues that arise are discussed in that forum. The Department has written to both organisations recently seeking confirmation that all the necessary financial requirements are in place and that their financial commitments to the project, which will be required to be met within the next 12 months, will be met.

Joanna Tuffy

Ceist:

82 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the status of Santry athletics stadium; if there are plans to invest in this stadium in advance of the London Olympics in 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24564/08]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Brian O'Shea

Ceist:

83 Deputy Brian O’Shea asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism if there are plans to improve the facilities at Santry stadium in view of the fact that it is Ireland’s premier athletics facility; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24576/08]

Amharc ar fhreagra

I propose to take Questions Nos. 82 and 83 together.

The Government has recognised the importance of Morton Stadium, Santry, to athletics through significant financial support in recent years. Since 2002, the Irish Sports Council has made an annual financial contribution towards the running costs of the stadium, amounting in total to just over €1 million. In addition, funding in excess of €3 million has been provided in capital grants through my Department for improvement of the stadium's facilities in recent years.

Applications for funding under the 2008 Sports Capital Programme were invited through advertisements in the Press on 13th and 14th of January and the deadline for receipt of applications was 29th February for paper-based applications and 7th March for on-line applications. All applications received before the deadline, including an application in respect of Morton Stadium, are currently being evaluated against the Programme's assessment criteria, which are outlined in the guidelines, terms and conditions of the Programme. I intend to announce the grant allocations for the Programme as soon as possible after the assessment process has been completed.

I understand that discussions are taking place between the relevant stakeholders of Morton Stadium with a view to agreeing new arrangements for the management of the stadium, whereby the Athletics Association of Ireland (AAI) will take over responsibility for the day-to-day management of the stadium from Fingal County Council. The proposed new arrangements aim to provide for a more focused and efficient management structure for the stadium to enable it to continue its important role as the national athletics stadium and ensure its ongoing availability for use by the athletics community, especially elite athletes.