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Sports Capital Programme

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 3 July 2012

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Ceisteanna (9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19)

Patrick Deering

Ceist:

90Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport the number and value of applications for the sports capital programme 2012 on a county by county basis; and the timeline for deciding on applications. [31973/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Seán Kyne

Ceist:

110Deputy Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport if he will outline the number of applications received under the sports capital programme; the total value of the applications and the expected timeline for deciding on applications. [31913/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Sean Fleming

Ceist:

115Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport the position regarding the sports capital programme; when he will announce details of successful applicants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32138/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Martin Heydon

Ceist:

129Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport the number and value of applications received for the recently closed sports capital grant programme; the timeline for deciding on applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32050/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

138Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport the number of applications under the sports capital programme 2012; the total value of grant aid sought; the corresponding figure for each county; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31607/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Andrew Doyle

Ceist:

139Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport the number of applications received as part of the sports capital programme; and the number of applications he expects to be successful in gaining funding. [31953/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Anthony Lawlor

Ceist:

143Deputy Anthony Lawlor asked the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport the number of applications for the sports capital programme 2012; the value of funding applied for; when he expects to be in a position to announce a decision on these applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32047/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Damien English

Ceist:

155Deputy Damien English asked the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport if he will give the details as to the number and value of applications from organisations in County Meath for the sports capital programme and the timeline for deciding on applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31847/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Andrew Doyle

Ceist:

711Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport the length of time it will take to process and decide on the volume of applications for the sports capital programme. [31952/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Dan Neville

Ceist:

715Deputy Dan Neville asked the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport the number of applications that have been lodged for the grants under the sports capital programme; the expected time line for deciding on applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32207/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Andrew Doyle

Ceist:

726Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport the number of applications that were received as part of the sports capital programme; the length of time it will take to process and decide on the number of successful of applications for the sports capital programme. [32344/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí ó Béal (22 píosaí cainte) (Ceist ar Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 90, 110, 115, 129, 138, 139, 143, 155, 711, 715 and 726 together.

Is that agreed? Agreed.

The Minister of State is some man. They do not pay him enough.

My Department has received more than 2,150 applications for funding under the 2012 sports capital programme. A county-by-county breakdown of the applications received and the amounts of funding sought will be circulated with the Official Report. These figures are subject to minor amendment as assessments are undertaken.

Departmental officials have started processing all applications received. This process will take some time, due to the volume of applications and the detailed information contained in each one. As a result, I do not expect to be in a position to announce the list of successful applicants before the late autumn or early winter 2012. It is not possible at this stage to estimate the number of applications expected to be successful. I intend to use the media and the Department's website to announce grant allocations and will write to individual applicants confirming the outcome of their applications.

Additional information not given on floor of the House.

County

Number of applications

Amount Sought

Project Cost

Carlow

44

€3,046,252

€3,753,675

Cavan

61

€5,780,865

€7,066,779

Clare

71

€5,286,330

€6,434,163

Cork

217

€21,083,163

€33,848,308

Donegal

111

€12,037,211

€16,571,089

Dublin

275

€33,621,690

€55,283,526

Galway

153

€17,220,424

€24,934,593

Kerry

89

€10,214,103

€10,844,207

Kildare

77

€8,715,044

€13,729,474

Kilkenny

49

€6,132,069

€10,949,037

Laois

41

€1,878,155

€2,555,919

Leitrim

30

€2,376,418

€2,706,512

Limerick

116

€14,530,746

€20,807,211

Longford

30

€1,873,684

€2,386,295

Louth

60

€4,726,335

€6,648,600

Mayo

114

€15,745,089

€29,138,404

Meath

75

€8,608,564

€11,816,635

Monaghan

48

€4,595,104

€42,208,896

Offaly

43

€2,203,339

€3,200,576

Roscommon

48

€4,381,562

€5,120,443

Sligo

47

€4,028,594

€5,141,862

Tipperary

93

€8,768,713

€16,247,482

Waterford

68

€7,232,134

€8,818,960

Westmeath

43

€5,101,562

€9,039,797

Wexford

93

€10,476,874

€14,476,065

Wicklow

56

€4,645,535

€5,940,879

Total

2,152

€224,309,559

€369,669,387

I thank the Minister of State for his response. First, I congratulate the Minister of State and the Government for resurrecting the sports capital programme for the first time in a number of years, which is to be welcomed. As the Minister of State has noted, more than 2,150 applications were received; it is evident there is huge interest in the entire process.

If the Minister of State does not mind me being parochial, I seek the figures for County Carlow. I am always concerned about Carlow's small size and its being part of a dual constituency, because I note the smaller county in such constituencies always appears to lose out. Has a decision been taken on how the money will be allocated? Will it be on a per-head-of-population or a county-by-county basis? All Members are aware there are the same number of sports organisations in each county and it is important that they receive adequate funding. The Minister of State also should indicate whether additional funding will become available later on in the year through the local authorities, as was the case in the past year, for swimming pools or outdoor equipment, which are of great benefit to a large number of constituents. The Minister of State visited my part of the country in recent weeks where he saw at first hand the benefit of funding for swimming pools and sports equipment.

There are 44 applications for funding worth €3,046,252 in the Deputy's county of Carlow. My officials and I are drawing up the guidelines on how we will deal with the applications. We want to see whether there are big or small applications, and when they have been assessed, we will draw up the guidelines on how the funding is to be spent.

I would like to provide some figures to dampen down expectations, because the Deputy is correct to say that expectations are high. There were 1,453 applications worth €293 million in 2008, but only 685 groups got funding, even though the Government of the day had €50 million to spend. I have 2,152 applications to date and I have €30 million available. It is small money when put into the overall context. We will try to distribute this money as fairly as possible, and we will draw up the regulations very shortly. We want to see whether the applications are big or small and then we will make a decision.

I do not want to see a situation arise like that which occurred in 2008, when the Government had €50 million to spend. There were schemes in 2005, 2006 and 2007, and the last scheme was in 2008. We did very well in very difficult times, and I thank the Department of Finance and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform for allowing us to spend €30 million. There is a massive demand for funding, but I want to see that funding targeted in areas where it will be spent. I do not want to see the situation that occurred before when €55 million worth of grants were allocated and were not drawn down. I will not be giving small amounts of money to big schemes so that the money will not be drawn down.

I will also be parochial in asking the Minister of State to give the figures for Kildare. In previous times Kildare was very fortunate as we had a Minister for Finance from an Opposition party who gave us a lot of money. The money was not-----

The Deputy did not mind him.

Deputy Dooley's party got rid of him.

The money was not well spent in many of those organisations. Some of those clubs are in difficulty at the moment.

Deputy Lawlor should name them in the House.

I have no problem naming them. There are many clubs looking for funding and we are in straitened times. I know that the money will be well spent when it is given out. Where applications from clubs are not successful, would it be possible to have their applications kept on file? Instead of having to go to the expense of putting in another application, if we are lucky enough to have another round next year, we might keep the unsuccessful applications and look at them for future funding.

There are 77 applications in from Kildare that are worth €8,715,000.

Deputy Lawlor will be doling out a lot of bad news.

I want to see shared facilities. With resources so scarce, we will be looking to have shared facilities and participation where people will actually be taking part.

Deputy Deering asked a question about the swimming pool scheme last year. We are looking at other ways and means of dealing with it. Deputy Lawlor's question on applications has been put to me before, and it is something the Minister and I will examine. Given the number of applications, we can only deal with a small percentage of them. Perhaps we could look at the Deputy's suggestion, but we are not making a decision on it now. We are currently adjudicating on those applications that are being made, we are putting them in order and we will see how we can facilitate and allocate that money as fairly as possible.

I commend the Minister of State on being able, in these straitened times, to find €30 million in resources to put into the sports capital programme and for recognising the importance of this project. I am startled to hear the figures for my own county of Kildare where, as noted by Deputy Lawlor, there has been €8 million worth of applications, which is almost one third of the amount in the national pot. This case of loaves and fishes is because we have had four years without a scheme due to the failure of the previous Government. This has left a backlog, and a huge number of clubs which wanted to progress with work are now unable to do so.

While great credit is due that this amount is available, it is obvious there will be huge disappointment because there is not enough money to go around to all the clubs that want it. I was secretary of my GAA club for seven years and I know the benefit that sports capital grants have brought.

It is important to note the population of Kildare has doubled in the past 20 years, and it is one of the fastest growing counties in the country. I stress it is important that due acknowledgement is given to this point because it is a county which has seen huge influx of people coming to live there and a huge amount of development. We need to be able to match that by providing sporting facilities for these people.

I welcome the comments of the Minister of State in regard to integrated and shared facilities and I agree we need to maximise our facilities by obtaining the best use out of them. At a time of serious childhood obesity and all the rest, it is important we target this money at areas where there is a lack of facilities. I hope that will happen.

Shared facilities will be the big issue because resources are so scarce at present. If the Deputy thinks he has problems in Kildare, I will tell him what is happening in Mayo, as I was expecting someone to ask me that question. Mayo has applications for 114 projects worth €15.745 million, so they will be looking for 50% of the pot. What can I do? We all have problems.

I want to dampen down expectations. I ask all Members of the House not to be leading groups up the garden path. There is no point telling them there is a pot of gold when there is not. There is a small amount of money and we will try to distribute that-----

The Minister of State was not shy about telling them that when he was on this side of the House.

-----as fairly as possible. I do not want expectations to be raised. I know there are Deputies who are already showing the list and asking people to make applications. That is one of the things that happened during this round. I am disappointed that people were brought to public meetings, encouraged to make applications and encouraged to contact and put pressure on their TDs. We have only €30 million and it will not be easy to distribute it.

Like other Deputies, I would like to know what sort of community groups and sporting organisations applied in my local area. When the Minister of State is giving us the breakdown, he might include socio-economic status and the proportion of clubs and groups in disadvantaged areas that applied. Has the Minister of State plans to launch special schemes for local authorities like the schemes in regard to swimming pools last year, which were very successful? Special schemes could be used locally for groups that are disappointed.

With regard to the Deputy's area, Cork has 217 applications worth €21,083,163. Within the Department, we are at present looking to find other ways to assist sporting organisations. The Deputy is correct with regard to the local authority schemes last year. I want to put this on the record very clearly for the two major newspapers in this country. I was criticised in regard to Mayo getting priority. That is not true. Every local authority that made applications for grant aid got it and every local authority that made applications for grant aid for swimming pools got it. The only local authorities that did not get funding were those that did not follow the one criterion, which was that the local authority must own the land. Even having been given the criteria, they still made applications when they did not own the land. I want to put that on the record. Per capita, it was Sligo, Leitrim and Cavan, and in terms of money, it was Dublin and Cork, that got the highest amounts. I would appreciate it if the national media might cover that and correct the inaccuracies that were put in the national newspapers in recent weeks.

They are waiting with bated breath in the Press Gallery.

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