Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media | Continuation of sporting activities
To ask the Minister for Tourism; Culture; Arts; Gaeltacht; Sport and Media the extent to which her Department continues to reach out to those involved in sporting activities, with a view to continuation of sporting activities in the future in line with the needs as presented by local communities; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
I recognise the importance of sport and physical activity for our society and the need to ensure that opportunities are in place to allow all members of society to participate in sport. Sport Ireland, which is funded by my Department, is the statutory body with responsibility for the development of sport, including the promotion of sports participation.
Sport Ireland provides funding to the network of Local Sports Partnerships (LSPs). For 2023, Sport Ireland is investing core funding of €10.3 million in the LSPs. The network of 29 LSPs undertakes a wide range of actions with the aim of increasing sport and physical activity participation levels in their local communities. The design, delivery and evaluation of targeted initiatives by LSPs directly increases the level of sports participation locally, particularly amongst the harder to reach social groups such as people with a disability, people from areas of socio economic disadvantage, ethnic minorities, older adults and women. Through their expertise and local connections with the sports communities, LSPs are able to identify specific needs and deliver effective initiatives accordingly.
With regard to capital support, 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 the 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. Following the conclusion of the appeals process, the final set of allocations were announced at the end of May last year. The total allocation of €166.6 million for the 2020 round represented the highest level of allocation ever made under the SCEP. Details of all allocations can be found at https://www.gov.ie/en/collection/471ed5-sports-capital-allocations/ .
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 has now been complete and I expect to be in a position to publish it shortly. Any recommendations arising from the 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.
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