Dáil Éireann - Volume 571 - 30 September, 2003

Written Answers. - Departmental Programmes.

  788. Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the progress to date in regard to the implementation of the RAPID programme for Athy; the amount of moneys made available for the implementation of the programme from his Department for Athy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20809/03]

  Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism (Mr. O'Donoghue): As the Deputy will be aware the revitalising areas through planning, investment and development, RAPID, programme aims to target the most disadvantaged areas of the country for enhanced development. No additional funding has been set aside for the programme but rather these areas are prioritised for support within existing budgets. The main programmes operated by my Department where a particular focus exists on RAPID areas are the national lottery-funded sports capital programme and the local authority swimming pool programme.

  One of the stated main objectives of the sports capital programme is to prioritise the needs of disadvantaged areas in the provision of facilities. The programme is run on an annual basis and allocates funding to sporting and community organisations at local, regional and national level throughout the country.

  For the 2003 sports capital programme, following consultation with the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, DCRGA, it was decided that disadvantaged areas were those that have been designated by Government for special support through the schemes administered by DCRAGA, that is, RAPID 1, RAPID 2, local drugs task force areas and CLÁR areas. Athy is one of 20 urban locations covered under the RAPID 2 programme. The 2003 programme was [539] the first for which RAPID 2, and accordingly RAPID designation in Athy, was in place.

  A total of 1,337 applications were received under the 2003 sports capital programme. Of these, two were located in the RAPID area of Athy, both of which had to be deemed ineligible as they did not meet with the minimum qualifying requirements under the guidelines, terms and conditions of the programme.

  It is open to sports clubs and community organisations in Athy, should they wish to do so and should they have projects which satisfy the terms and conditions of the programme, to submit applications to the 2004 sports capital programme when that scheme is publicly advertised. Projects which meet the basic qualifying conditions and which are located in RAPID areas will again be prioritised under this programme as they were under the 2003 programme.

  Under the local authority swimming pool programme, projects which are developed in areas designated as disadvantaged, qualify for financial support at 90% of the eligible cost of the project subject to a maximum grant of €3.8 million. Contract documents submitted by Kildare County Council for the Athy swimming pool project are currently under consideration in my Department. Grants for swimming pools are not approved until a tender for the project has been approved.

  Question No. 789 answered with Question No. 780.