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Tourism; Culture; Arts; Gaeltacht; Sport and Media | Sport grants applications and beneficiaries

To ask the Minister for Tourism; Culture; Arts; Gaeltacht; Sport and Media the extent to which an awarding of further sports grants is anticipated in the coming year; the extent to which those who were beneficiaries in the past three years and found themselves unable to complete the works can be accommodated by time extensions or top-up; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

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 have now benefited from sports capital 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 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. 

Approximately one thousand of the submitted applications were for ‘equipment-only’ projects. These applications were assessed first and grants with a total value of €16.6 million were announced on 6 August, 2021.

The remaining capital applications were then assessed and 1,865 individual grant offers with a total value of over €143.8 million were announced on Friday 11 February 2022. 

Unsuccessful applicants were able to appeal the Department’s decision. The deadline for submission of capital appeals was Monday 4 April and 146 appeals were received. On foot of that process, consequent allocations amounting to €6.14 million were announced on Tuesday 31 May.

The total allocation of €150 million for capital projects, and €166.6 million for the 2020 round in total, represents the highest level of allocation ever made under the SCEP.  

While the priority in the short term is to advance the successful applications, which number almost 2,900, under the 2020 round to “formal approval” and grant drawdown stage, my Department continues to support and guide grantees from past rounds as they manage their grants. This requires detailed engagement with all grantees and, where necessary, requests for extensions and changes of purpose of grants have been accommodated.

Following completion of the appeal process, my Department has subsequently undertaken 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, the Department will announce the exact timing of the next round but it is hoped to have it open for applications early in the new year. 

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