Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Ceisteanna (69)

Brendan Ryan


69. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his views on whether an organisation (details supplied) is in a precarious financial situation with approximately 200 jobs at risk; his plans to take control of the situation and resolve same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22066/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I am aware of the recent reports concerning the financial situation of the organisation in question. At the outset, I wish to highlight that the organisation concerned and other recognised National Governing Bodies of sport are responsible for their own governance procedures and competition rules for their sports. They are also responsible for employer/employee relations and it would not be appropriate for me as Minister to intervene in such matters.

In response to admission by the President of the organisation in question that it had been in breach of grant conditions in 2017, the Board of Sport Ireland decided to withhold and suspend funding to that organisation until a comprehensive explanation of all financial transactions was provided and until governance issues identified were also addressed. Subsequently, Minister of State Griffin and I decided to suspend all payments to that organisation under the Sports Capital Programme which is administered by my Department.

The decisions taken by Minister Griffin and I, and by the Board of Sport Ireland were not taken lightly, and considered the potential impact to programmes and projects, and to the running of the organisation.

I am satisfied that this suspension of funding will not have any short term impact on the valuable programmes delivered by the organisation concerned. The association has already received 50% of its Sport Ireland funding for 2019 which will ensure the good work on the ground can continue for now. The next tranche of funding is due in September, giving the organisation some time to put its affairs in order. Sport Ireland have offered the organisation non-financial assistance and guidance with the tasks ahead. Similarly, the potential outstanding drawdown amounts for the organisation under the Sports Capital Programme are modest in scale and not significant enough to impact on the organisation's overall financial situation. It is important to recognise that State funding to this organisation is a small proportion of its total income and that the organisation has significant commercial revenues.

I am glad that the organisation and its Board are now engaging constructively with Sport Ireland to address the serious issues which have occurred. I would encourage them to continue their efforts to rebuild trust, so that funding can be restored. The Board of Sport Ireland will keep this matter under constant review and provide regular updates to Minister Griffin and me on progress. When all necessary steps have been taken, we will consider reinstatement of funding.