Dáil Éireann - Volume 602 - 10 May, 2005
Written Answers. - Swimming Pool Projects.
Ms C. Murphy Ms C. Murphy
109. Ms C. Murphy asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the commitments which have been made for the provision of swimming pools in 2005; the funding which remains in the budget for 2005; the number of projects awaiting allocation of funding; the average waiting time for this allocation; and the way in which these projects are evaluated. [15041/05]
Mr. O’Donoghue Mr. O’Donoghue
Mr. O’Donoghue: The 2005 Estimate provision for the local authority swimming pool programme, administered by my Department, is €32 million. This provision includes €3.7 million allocated by the Minister for Finance in the budget towards the cost of providing a swimming pool at St. Michael’s House, Belcamp Lane, Dublin. Commitments of some €23 million were carried forward from 2004. To date this year, grant-aid has been approved for one project, bringing total commitments to €26.8 million.
A portion of the total current commitment will be carried forward into 2006 as the rate of drawdown of grant in respect of each project varies in accordance with the speed at which the project proceeds. The normal timescale for pool construction is in the region of 18 months. However, arising from the need for the assembly of properly documented claims by the project promoter and scrutiny of these by my Department’s technical advisers, the Office of Public Works, OPW, and as certain project fees already incurred can be claimed immediately on grant approval and prior to construction, the process of drawing down allocated funding invariably extends beyond the construction period. In addition, a percentage of grant-aid is retained until both the final account and architects opinion on compliance with building regulations and planning permission are provided and found to be in order.
Under the programme, there are four main stages in progressing a swimming pool project. These, in order of progress, are: feasibility study-preliminary report; contract documents; and tender and construction. My Department’s technical advisers, the OPW, evaluate each stage and local authorities cannot proceed to the next stage of a project unless prior approval issues from my Department. Grant aid is not formally allocated until the tenders have been approved for a project.
 At present only those applications submitted under the enhanced 2000 programme before 31 July 2000 are being considered by the Department for grant purposes. The only exception was where a local authority swimming pool in Monaghan had to close, for safety reasons, after that date, leaving Monaghan as the only county in the country without a local authority pool. Since that date, 55 projects have or are being dealt with. A total of 25 projects have been allocated grant aid, 15 of which have been completed and ten are at construction stage. Thirty other applications are at various stages in the process, six are at tender stage, 15 are at contract documents stage and nine are at preliminary report stage.
Projects are considered on a case-by-case basis and consideration is given to such issues as to whether the area is classified as disadvantaged, the number and geographical spread of projects within and between counties, the viability of the project, particularly in relation to operational and maintenance issues, overall funding package for the project, technical details and the Department’s annual Estimates provision for the programme.
Mr. English Mr. English
110. Mr. English asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism if he intends to review the technical guidelines for swimming pools; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15029/05]
Mr. O’Donoghue Mr. O’Donoghue
Mr. O’Donoghue: An expenditure review of the local authority swimming pool programme is being carried out by my Department currently and will be completed later this year. I understand that the question of a revision of the technical guidelines associated with the programme is being considered in the context of the review.
Question No. 111 answered with Question No. 67.
Question No. 112 answered with Question No. 84.
Question No. 113 answered with Question No. 102.
Question No. 114 answered with Question No. 89.
Dáil Éireann 602 Written Answers. Swimming Pool Projects.