Deputy Peter Burke, Fine Gael TD for Longford-Westmeath, says he is confident that the Sports Capital Grants programme, which saw €1.1 million come in to the county last October, will be re-opened as early as this summer.
“Brendan Griffin, Minister of State for Sport, recently visited this constituency to meet clubs who applied for Sports Capital Grants in the past and who hope to apply in the future,” said Deputy Burke.
“Sports Capital Grants are of huge importance to our clubs and make such a difference to the volunteers and teams across the county. I have impressed on the Minister and the Taoiseach the need for this funding stream to be maintained. I was delighted to hear from the Minister that he is examining the possibility of opening the scheme again as early as this June.
“Furthermore, a number of appeals have been lodged from clubs in Westmeath and I am hopeful that this will be examined with a view to making awards for these teams who fell down over very technical elements or omissions. I am actively working with the Minister and the groups on this.”
Deputy Burke also announced a new system, whereby applications for smaller amounts of money will require a less technically detailed application. The current application process is said to be overly onerous and technical for club members and unpaid volunteers.
“I would urge clubs to keep an eye out for an announcement of the re-opening of the scheme from June onwards and to organise any plans now so that when the system is re-opened, you are ready to apply,” he said.
“The Government allocated €56 million to sports clubs last year nationwide, almost double the original figure earmarked for the scheme. I am hopeful that this can be repeated this year, and that Westmeath will see its allocation rise again.”