Thursday, 17 November 2022
Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
Sport and Recreational Development
172. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the emphasis that she expects to place on sport in the coming year, with particular reference to the need of facilities in all areas throughout the country; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [57214/22]
173. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the extent to which she expects an emphasis on sport and sporting activities to be supported in the future, having particular regard to the successes achieved to date and given the need to compete effectively internationally; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [57215/22]
175. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the extent to which it is intended to offer grant assistance to all major and minor sporting activities throughout the country; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [57217/22]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 172, 173 and 175 together.
Sport Ireland, which is funded by my Department, is the statutory body with responsibility for the development of sport, increasing participation at all levels and raising standards. This includes the allocation of current funding to sporting organisations across its various programmes such as the Core Funding Programme and High Performance Programme. Sport Ireland also provides funding to individual athletes through the International Carding Scheme.
As decisions on funding support are a matter for Sport Ireland, I have referred the Deputy's question to Sport Ireland for direct reply. I would ask the Deputy to inform my office if a reply is not received within 10 days.
In relation to capital support for sports organisations, two schemes overseen by my Department are of relevance.
The Sports Capital and Equipment Programme (SCEP) is the primary vehicle for Government support for the development of sports and recreation facilities and the purchase of non-personal sports equipment throughout the country. Over 13,000 projects, including many football developments, have now benefited from funding since 1998, bringing the total allocations in that time to over €1.15 billion. The Programme for Government commits to continuing the SCEP and to prioritising the investment in disadvantaged areas.
The 2020 round of the SCEP closed for applications on Monday 1 March 2021 and by the deadline a record 3,106 applications were submitted. The final allocations under this latest round were announced in May of this year and the total allocation of over €166 million represented the highest level of allocation ever made under the SCEP. The priority in the short term is to advance the successful applications under the 2020 round to "formal approval" and grant drawdown stage which requires detailed engagement with all grantees. My Department is now undertaking a full review of all aspects of the 2020 round of the SCEP and any recommendations arising will be reflected in the terms and conditions of the next round. Following the completion of the review, I hope to announce the exact timing of the next round but it is hoped to have it open for applications early in the new year.
Funding is also provided by my Department for sports facilities under the Large Scale Sport Infrastructure Fund (LSSIF), designed for projects where the grant sought is greater than the maximum available under the SCEP. The first allocations under the LSSIF were announced in January 2020 and, thus far, approximately €86.4 million has been awarded to 33 different proposals. While the priority in the short term is to advance all of the projects that were allocated funding, as it is now over two years since the first allocations were made, and in view of the issues faced by grantees as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was considered timely to review progress on all projects allocated grants. My Department has now met with all successful grantees and work is at an advanced stage in drafting the review. Once the review is complete the scope for awarding any additional grants, adjusting the level of existing grants and the timing of any new call for proposals will be considered.