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Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media | Anticipation of further sports grants and time extension or top-up for beneficiaries

To ask the Minister for Tourism; Culture; Arts; Gaeltacht; Sport and Media the extent to which the 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 a time extension or top-up; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

– Bernard J. Durkan T.D.


As outlined in my response to an earlier Priority Question, 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. Thousands of projects have been completed under the scheme and the Programme for Government commits to continuing the SCEP and to prioritising investment in disadvantaged areas.  
The final grants under the latest round were announced were announced on Tuesday 31 May last year and the total allocation of €166.6 million for the 2020 round represents the highest level of allocation ever made under the SCEP.  
Details of all allocations, on a county basis, can be found on the Department’s website.

While the priority in the short term is to advance the successful applications 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. In relation to any extensions to timelines or requests for “change of purpose” for grants my Department continues to adopt a sympathetic and reasonable approach provided the new proposal also adheres to the terms and conditions of the SCEP.

Following completion of the appeal process, my Department commenced a full review of all aspects of the 2020 round of the SCEP.

A draft of the Review was complete last week, a meeting took place with the Review team to finalise this work. On foot of this work, I intend to publish the Review very shortly. Any recommendations arising from the finalised Review will be reflected in the next round. Furthermore, my officials are engaging with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in relation to the next round of the SCEP. Once this process is concluded, I will announce the exact dates from which new applications will be accepted. In relation to the funding available to allocate, I will continue to engage with my Government colleagues to maximise the total funding envelope available for the Programme in the years ahead. Clearly the level of demand will be a key determinant but every effort will be made to fund as many worthwhile projects as possible while providing a sufficient level of grant to ensure the projects are viable.
Final decisions on how to allocate funding or ringfencing amounts under the next round will not be taken until after the level of demand is known. It should be noted that under recent rounds, population has been a key consideration in deciding the distribution of the overall funding available. The overall funding was distributed by county on a per capita/demand split basis with the latest census figures applied in determining the per capita figure. Obviously counties that have seen proportionately greater population growth have benefitted in this regard.  My officials also engage with Local Sports Partnerships in terms of raising awareness of the SCEP on the ground and supporting burgeoning sports groups. Furthermore, Sport Ireland is continuing to develop a national digital database of sport and recreational facilities, which it is hoped can be significantly completed by the end of this year. It is envisaged that the database will permit the undertaking of enhanced, strategic demographic analyses to inform future grant allocation decisions on the location of sports facilities.    

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