Dáil Éireann - Volume 502 - 11 March, 1999

Written Answers. - Sports Funding.

103. Mr. Allen asked the Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation the number of disabled athletes included in the carding system operated by the Irish Sports Council for funding purposes. [7464/99]

Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation (Dr. McDaid): In 1998, a total of 25 players and athletes from four national governing bodies representing disabled sports qualified for support under the international carding scheme. The number of qualifying players and athletes and the amounts allocated to each national governing body were as follows:

National Governing Body

No.

Amount £

Irish Blindsports

7

30,000

Cerebral Palsy Sport Ireland

5

22,800

Irish Deafsports Association

1

4,000

Irish Wheelchair Association

12

54,190

Total

25

110,990

Details of the 1999 international carding scheme will issue shortly to all national governing bodies of sport participating in the scheme.

104. Mr. Allen asked the Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation the reason some national governing bodies in sport are not being given grants towards administration due to the fact they have the initiative to raise funding for these purposes themselves. [7465/99]

Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation (Dr. McDaid): The criteria for allocating financial assistance to recognised national governing bodies of sport is set out in sections 15 and 16 of the reference book of this Department under the Freedom of Information Act, 1997. Having regard to this criteria, a small number of major national governing bodies of sport were deemed to be self-sufficient in terms of their ability to meet their administration costs, primarily because [435] of their success in generating income from commercial sources. Therefore, the Irish Sports Council recommended that funding for these organisations should be directed at specific programmes provided by them, especially programmes aimed particularly at the development of, and increasing participation in, sports in disadvantaged areas, which also open up new opportunities for communities in such areas to avail of the organisational skills and expertise of these bodies.

105. Mr. Callely asked the Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation if he will give an update on the representative groups and bodies representing swimming; the funds and grants available to these bodies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7466/99]

Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation (Dr. McDaid): As and from January, 1999 the national governing bodies which represent swimming are Swim Ireland, which replaces the disbanded Irish amateur swimming association, and its affiliate, the Irish Schools Swimming Association. My decision to suspend funding for the swimming organisations arises, as the House will be aware, from very serious incidents in the recent past relating to the safety of children in the sport.

I will not, therefore, be in a position to consider applications for funding from either of these swimming bodies until the new Swim Ireland's executive has been appointed and the wider membership has expressed its satisfaction with the new procedures and arrangements relating to the safety of the younger members in the sport. The Annual General Meeting of Swim Ireland is scheduled for 24 April 1999 and I would encourage all members of the new body, constituent clubs, and affiliates to participate wholeheartedly in the preparations for, and the conduct of, the upcoming AGM to ensure that this objective is achieved and confidence in the organisation of the sport is restored.

Once this is achieved, applications will be invited under the grant scheme for national governing bodies of sport and under the international carding scheme in respect of their high performance members.

I approved a special grant in 1998 to the Irish Amateur Swimming Association, now Swim Ireland, solely for the purpose of bringing forward the AGM from April to January. This sum was a contribution towards the legal and administrative costs of bringing forward the AGM and the creation of a database of members.