Dáil Éireann - Volume 650 - 13 March, 2008
Written Answers. - Sports Capital Programme.
Deputy Tom Hayes Deputy Tom Hayes
Deputy Tom Hayes asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the thrust of changes in the guidelines for applications for the current round of sports capital grants and their intended effect; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10959/08]
Deputy Séamus Brennan Deputy Séamus Brennan
Deputy Séamus Brennan: Under the sports capital programme, which is administered by my Department, funding is allocated to sporting and community organisations at local, regional and national level throughout the country. For the 2008 Sports Capital Programme my Department has implemented a number of changes to improve the administration of the scheme and to implement key commitments contained in the Agreed Programme for Government. In this regard, I would point to a number of specific changes to this year’s guidelines.
Firstly, in line with the commitment contained in the Agreed Programme for Government, the level of own funding required from applicants in urban disadvantaged areas has been reduced from 20% to 10%. This covers applicants from RAPID and Local Drugs Task Force areas. This change is in keeping with the Government’s commitment to prioritise the needs of disadvantaged areas. Secondly, the Programme for Government also contains important commitments to promote greater sharing of sports facilities between schools and local sports clubs. Under the 2008 Sports Capital Programme, schools making joint applications with local sports clubs are required to provide evidence of formal agreements with local clubs that guarantees the clubs access to school facilities for at least 30 hours per week throughout the year.
Thirdly, in keeping with this Government’s commitment to the electronic delivery of public services, this year a decision was made to extend by one week the closing date for receipt of on-line applications. This has resulted in a very significant increase in on-line applications. While final statistics are not yet available, initial indications point to an increase of the order of 500%. In addition, some minor changes have been made to the administration of the scheme this year. These changes were designed to improve customer service, implement efficiencies  and to improve the operation of the scheme. These changes are implemented on the basis of suggestions from staff working in the area, feedback from customers, and input from key stakeholders such as the Office of Public Works, the Chief State Solicitors Office and the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. My Department will of course continue to review the administration of the Programme on an ongoing basis.
Dáil Éireann 650 Written Answers. Sports Capital Programme.