Tuesday, 8 October 2019
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
I call on the Leader to arrange for the Minister, Deputy Ross, to come to the House to discuss the sports capital programme, in particular in regard to its allocations for 2019. In recent days, I have received a number of calls from sports clubs and individuals, both in the area in which I live, Dún Laoghaire, and around the country, with the suggestion that there had been an indication - a wink, a nod - that perhaps they are all through and they are getting this sports capital money.
That is what I have been told and I have no evidence to suggest anything other than that. However, it is important that we have confidence in the sports capital programme process. It is, after all, funded by taxpayers and a percentage is funded by the national lottery. It is very important that the sports capital programme announcements must not be seen, or perceived in any way, to be skewed to curry political favour or give political or electoral advantage to anybody. This is the people's money and no one else's money. Any suggestion that it would be put out there on the side is wrong.
I reiterate that this is a suggestion and a suggestion only, but I have concerns. I believe that everyone in both Houses of the Oireachtas, on all sides, wants a new system in which people have confidence and which is fully open and transparent. My concern is that no one should have political advantage over anybody else in regard to dishing out what is public money set aside specifically for sport. We know the sports capital programme aims to foster and promote an integrated plan for sports facilities right across the 31 local authorities, and across the country as a whole.
I would like the Minister, Deputy Ross, to come to the House to give us an overview of the sports capital programme and the vision for all of that but, more importantly, to reassure the Members of this House there will be no premature sideshow or side announcement, and that the allocations will be made through an open and transparent process. I ask the Leader to use his good offices to find out what is the delay or the hold-up. I understand this has all been agreed and the sports capital allocations have been signed off. When can we expect clubs and local authorities to hear first-hand from the Government and from the Minister as to their allocations?