I thank the Deputy for the question, the subject of which is prompting much interest from all Deputies. It is a very important fund. The national sports policy published last year provided for the establishment of a new large-scale sport infrastructure fund. The aim of the fund is to provide support for larger sports facilities where the Exchequer investment is greater than the maximum amount available under the sports capital programme. These may be projects where the primary objective would be to increase active participation in sport or large-scale venues or stadia where the focus is more related to social participation and high-performance sport. The new fund is designed to provide a transparent and robust system for funding such projects.
The Government has provided a capital allocation of at least €100 million for the period to 2027 for the large-scale sport infrastructure fund. The new scheme closed for applications on 17 April, with applications initially confined to local authorities and national governing bodies of sport. By the closing date, 72 applications were received. Details of all applications received have been published on the Department's website, along with the evaluation procedures and guidelines. Assessment is continuing in the Department but in view of the detailed information contained in each application, it will take a number of months to complete all this work. Accordingly, I expect that it will be towards the end of this year before any allocations are announced.
There are no plans to reopen the scheme. After allocations are made under the current round, a decision will be taken on the timing of the next call for applications. A key consideration in this regard will be the number of valid applications received that are considered worthy of a grant on this occasion. Furthermore, the Minister of State, Deputy Griffin, and I will continue to make the case for enhanced investment in sport infrastructure, including greater funding for sports capital projects in the years ahead to ensure all of the objectives set out in the national sports policy are met.
The Deputy has referred to the "reopening" of the scheme but I am not quite sure if is talking about reopening what has been closed or reopening for new applications further down the line.