The Irish Open is a very important part of the Irish sporting calendar and has received Government support through Fáilte Ireland and Sport Ireland.
Fáilte Ireland, the national tourism development authority, is the statutory body with responsibility for the encouragement, promotion and support of tourism.
Sport Ireland is the statutory body with responsibility for the promotion, development and coordination of sport in Ireland including responsibility for the allocation of funding.
I understand that a total of €1m, involving contributions by both Failte Ireland and Sport Ireland on behalf of the Government, is being provided by to support the hosting of the event in 2018.
It may be noted that Ballyliffin Golf Club, which shall be hosting this prestigious event, was successful in its application for funding under the 2017 Sports Capital Programme and has received grant approval for the sum of €59,000 in respect of refurbishment of dressing rooms and academy links.
Following the exceptionally heavy rainfall which occurred in August 2017, Minister of State Brendan Griffin visited a number of sports clubs and organisations in Donegal, including Ballyliffin Golf Club, to see the impacts of the flooding and indicated our willingness to assist the relevant clubs as an exceptional measure. In this regard, my Department made contact with relevant sports clubs impacted by the flooding but whose damage was deemed to be outside the terms of the previously announced Irish Red Cross Scheme. In the case of Ballyliffin Golf Club however, I understand that an insurance claim was submitted for the flood damage in question so no allocation has been provided by my Department in that respect.
I met with Councillors from the area last month and discussed a request which was received from Donegal County Council for an estimated contribution of €3 million for road infrastructure costs related to facilitating the Irish Open Golf Tournament. In response my Department notified Donegal County Council that unfortunately, given the competing demands for funding and the continued need to try to restore funding for maintenance/rehabilitation programmes along with funding a limited number of improvement projects under the Capital Plan, the Department would not be in a position to provide funding over and above Donegal's annual road grant allocation to assist with the works proposed on the access roads to the Irish Open Golf Championship in 2018.
I informed them, that in this context, my Department's approach in such circumstances is allow the relevant local authority to make whatever adjustments are needed to its restoration programmes arising from works associated with Irish Open Golf Championship.