Thursday, 16 December 2021
Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
295. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the total sum in staggered payments that will be made to the organisers of a golf tournament (details supplied) between now and 2027; if she has conducted a-cost benefit analysis in respect of using public funds for the event; and if she will publish a full review of the event in the context economic benefits and shortcomings and lessons learned to assist with hosting other world events in the future. [62583/21]
296. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the number of occasions that she and her officials have met with the organisers and venue owners of a golf tournament (details supplied) in the past two years to date; and if she will provide a schedule of same by location or meeting and the costs incurred by her Department arising from same. [62584/21]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 295 and 296 together.
To date I have met with the venue owners for the golf tournament to which the Deputy refers on one occasion on 7th September last but I have not met the event organisers. Minister Martin attended the Ryder Cup in 2021 in the U.S. and while there met with the venue owner and the organisers on the 24th of September 2021. This was part of a visit to the US promoting Ireland as a tourism destination organised by Tourism Ireland. My officials last met with the venue owners on 19th December 2019 and are in frequent dialogue with the event organisers, calls or e-mails are exchanged on at least a monthly basis. The last in-person meeting with the event organisers took place prior to the pandemic in London on 17th January 2020. The costs for these meetings are being compiled and I will forward the details to the Deputy in accordance with the timelines set out in standing orders. The Department is also working with and regularly meets stakeholders including Sport Ireland, Tourism Ireland, Fáilte Ireland, Limerick City and County Council and other public sector bodies in planning for the event.
In July 2019, after an extended period of consideration and negotiation, including an assessment of the costs and benefits, the Government approved a package of financial support for the hosting of the event to which the Deputy refers. The main payment to the event organisers, to host the event is an event licence fee. The first year of payment was in 2020 and, on foot of a payment agreement drafted by the Chief State Solicitor’s Office, €3.2 million of the licence fee was paid to the event organisers. A similar agreement was put in place for 2021. Allowing for the fact that the event was rescheduled to 2027 from 2026, the payment for 2021 encompassed a licence fee instalment of €2.755m. Payment levels similar to 2021 are envisaged for each year between 2022 and 2027 for the licence fee. The licence fee in total is scheduled to cost €22.5 million, not including VAT which is paid to the Irish Exchequer.
To strengthen the professional game in Ireland in the run up to the event, additional financial support of €8.5million is also being provided for professional golf events i.e. the Irish Open, the Challenge and Legends Tour Events scheduled to take place in Ireland up and including 2027. Marketing of the event will also form a key part of the preparations for the hosting and a budget of €8m will be provided for marketing through and with the European Tour.
Separate to this an operational budget will be required to support the staging of the event to cover matters such as policing, local authority support, transport provision as well as an opening ceremony and fanzone. These supports will ensure that Ireland can maximise the opportunity which this tournament affords Ireland, the Mid-West and Limerick city and county.
It is best practice to draw lessons learned from all major events and this event will be no different. In that regard, a review of the event including the delivery, costs, operation and impacts will be conducted after the event.