The sports capital programme is the primary vehicle for Government support for the development of sports and physical recreation facilities and the purchase of non-personal sports equipment throughout the country. Under the 2017 round of the programme, €62 million was allocated to 1,837 sporting projects and my officials continue to assist these grantees in completing their projects and drawing down their grants.
Sanction was received last year from the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform to open a new round of the programme with allocations of up to €40 million. This new round opened for applications on Friday, 7 September and the application period closed on Friday, 19 October 2018. By that deadline, a record 2,337 applications were submitted seeking a total of €162 million in funding.
A total of 186 of these applications were for projects deemed invalid under the 2017 round of the programme but corrected documents were subsequently submitted. These applications were assessed first and approximately €7 million in allocations to 170 projects were announced on 17 January.
A total of 619 equipment-only applications were assessed next and 466 allocations with a value of €9.8 million were announced in May.
Work is now under way on assessing the remaining applications for capital works.
For the first time, applicants who submitted incorrect documentation under this round are being given the opportunity to correct their application during the assessment period. While there will be no undue delay in completing the assessment process, in view of the opportunity to correct documentation, the record number of applications received and the detailed information contained in each application, I expect that it may be the end of the third quarter of this year before the full set of allocations under this current round of the programme are announced.
As soon as allocations have been made, my Department will carry out a review of all aspects of the 2018 round of the programme to include any possible improvements for the future. This review will include consideration of the timing and scale of the next round but I fully expect that the sports capital programme will again be open for new applications before the end of this year.
The funding available this year and currently earmarked for subsequent years is sufficient to meet all existing commitments and allow for a new round of the programme to be opened.