Dáil Éireann - Volume 663 - 14 October, 2008

Written Answers. - Sports Capital Programme.

Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the conditions which apply to the provision of grants towards public leisure centres; the number and locations of applications being processed; the average length of time it takes to process an application; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34926/08]

  Deputy Martin Cullen: 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. The Programme has been run on an annual basis over the past number of years. It is open to any organisation with a suitable project, which satisfies the terms and conditions of the programme, to apply for funding. Applications for the construction of swimming pools are not eligible under the programme, as the Department administers a separate local authority swimming pools programme.

While the terms and conditions that apply to each round of the programme may vary from year to year a copy of the most recent guidelines, terms and conditions and application form are available on my Department’s website.

Applications for funding under the 2008 programme were invited through advertisements in the Press on 13th and 14th of January and the deadline for receipt of applications was 29th February for paper-based applications and 7th March for online applications. Allocations to 685 projects were announced at the end of July 2008. There are no applications currently on hand. The date of the next round of the Programme has not yet been decided.

Under the Local Authority Swimming Pool Programme, which is administered by my Department and which has been closed to new applicants since July 2000, grant aid to a maximum of €3.8 million is provided to Local Authorities towards the capital costs of new swimming pools or the refurbishment of existing pools, subject in both cases to the total grant not exceeding 80% of the eligible cost of the project or, in the case of projects located in disadvantaged areas, 90% of the eligible cost.

There are four principal stages in a swimming pool project following the submission of a feasibility study. These, in order of progress, are: Preliminary Report; Contract Documents; [633] Tender and Construction. Grant-aid is allocated only when tenders have been approved for the project and is capped at the time of allocation. The Department and its technical advisors, the Office of Public Works, evaluate each stage and local authorities cannot proceed to the next stage of a project unless prior approval issues from the Department of Arts, Sport & Tourism.

Where a project is being undertaken by an organisation other than a local authority, the proposal must be considered, supported and submitted by the relevant local authority. Before supporting a project, the local authority would have to be satisfied that the proposal was viable, that the balance of funding required to complete the project was available and that the project, when completed, would have a satisfactory level of public access. The Local Authority is responsible for making satisfactory arrangements for the management and maintenance of the facility.

Under the current round of the programme, the question of the location of public swimming pools is essentially a matter for local authorities. 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.

Since 2000, the total spent under the programme (to end September 2008) is €123.9m. A total of €20m has been provided in 2008.

Since 2000, some 57 applications have or are being dealt with. 45 projects have been approved grant-aid — of which 37 of these have been completed and 8 are under construction or due to start construction shortly. In addition, 12 other applications are at various stages in the process: 2 are preparing tender documents; 7 are preparing contract documents and 3 are preparing preliminary reports. Our priority now is to work with the relevant local authorities in bringing into public use the remaining 20 pools, which are included in the current programme. A status report on the current status of the 57 projects in the current round is being circulated in the official report.

Status of individual swimming pool projects under the current round (closed 31 July, 2000) of the Local Authority Swimming Pool Programme:

PROJECTS COMPLETED (37)

Arklow (Refurbish) — official opening January 2000

Courtown/Gorey (New) — opened October 2001

Dundalk (New) — official opening March 2002

Ennis (New) — official opening September 2003

Enniscorthy (New) — official opening January 2000

Monaghan (Refurbish) — re-entered programme for replacement

Navan (New) — official opening August 2000

Wicklow (New) — (Sept 99) official opening June 2001

Roscommon (Refurbish) — official opening April 2002

AquaDome, Tralee (Refurbish) — opened 2003

Ballinasloe (Replace) — official opening October 2003

[634] Finglas, Dublin (Replace) — opened April 04

Grove Island, Limerick (New) — opened June 04

Sports and Leisure Centre, Tralee (Refurbish) — opened July 04

Clonmel (Refurbish) — opened December 04

Churchfield, Cork City (Refurbish) — official opening June 05

Ballymun, Dublin City (Replace) — opened June 05

Tuam, Co. Galway (Replace) — opened Sept 05

Drogheda, Co. Louth (Replace) — opened May 2006

Monaghan town (Replace) — opened 19 August 2006

Cobh, Co. Cork (Replace) — opened 30 August 2006

Youghal, Co. Cork (New) — opened 18 September 2006

Jobstown, South County Dublin (New) — opened 13 November 2006

Ballybunion, Co. Kerry (New) — June 2007

Birr, Co. Offaly (Refurbish) — opened 7 July 2007

Letterkenny, Co. Donegal (Replace) — opened 9 July 2007

Askeaton, Co. Limerick (Replace outdoor pool) — opened 4 August 2007

Longford, Co. Longford (Replace) — opened 7 September 2007

St. Joseph’s School for Deaf Boys (Refurbish) — opened November 2007

Portarlington, Co. Laois (Refurbish) — opened 1 December 2007

Portlaoise, Co. Laois (Replace) — opened 18 December 2007

Clondalkin, South County Dublin (Replace) — opened 7 January 2008

Thurles, Co. Tipperary (Replace) — opened 7 April 2008

St Michael’s House, Dublin (New) –opened 21 April 08

Killarney, Co. Kerry (New) — opened 16 July 2008

Bray, Co. Wicklow (Replace) — opened 6 Sept 2008

Ballyfermot Dublin City (Replace) — opened 6 October 2008

UNDER CONSTRUCTION OR ABOUT TO START CONSTRUCTION (8)

1. Athy, Co. Kildare (Replace)

2. Naas, Co. Kildare (Replace)

3. Kilkenny City (Replace)

4. Tullamore, Co. Offaly (Replace outdoor pool) — to open 20 October 2008

5. Greystones, Co. Wicklow (New) — to open 12 October 2008

[635] 6. Dundrum, Co. Dublin (Replace)

7. Claremorris, Co. Mayo (Replacement)

8. Roscrea, Tipperary, NR (New)

OUT TO TENDER (2)

Ferrybank, Co. Wexford (Refurbish)

Loughrea, Co. Galway (New)

PREPARING CONTRACT DOCUMENTS (7)

Skerries, Fingal (New)

New Ross, Co. Wexford (Replace)

Buncrana, Co. Donegal (Refurbish)

Glenalbyn, Co. Dublin (Refurbish)

Castlebar, Co. Mayo (Replace)

Dunmanway, Co. Cork (Replacement)

Ballybofey, Co. Donegal (New)

PRELIMINARY REPORT STAGE (3)

Edenderry, Co. Offaly (Replace)

Clara, Co. Offaly (Refurbish)

Ballaghaderreen, Co. Roscommon (New)