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Elitism set to continue in allocation of sports grants – Munster

28 March, 2018 - by Imelda Munster TD

Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Sport Imelda Munster TD has today lambasted Minister for Transport Shane Ross and Junior Minister Brendan Griffin over the gross inequality displayed in the allocations under the Sports Capital Programme.

Deputy Munster said:

“These grants are designed to improve sporting facilities in disadvantaged areas, yet somehow we have a situation where private schools, private golf clubs, and yacht clubs have received six figure sums under the scheme.

“I know that Minister Ross is the poster boy for privatisation, union-bashing Tory ideology, but one thing I could maybe have said in his favour several years ago was that he appeared to be against cronyism and in favour of political transparency. Unfortunately, Minister Ross has reversed course since he became Minister and these grants are hard evidence of this.

“Between Stepaside Garda Station and now Wesley College, he’s looking after his own area, and he’s looking after his own social class, whilst ignoring the majority of his duties as Minister for Transport, Tourism, and Sport.

“Minister Ross has made a right mess of this. 30 public schools were turned down, while Wesley was granted €150,000. There is a population of 50,000 in the south inner city in Dublin who don’t have access to a single sports pitch, while Wesley has 4 rugby pitches, one soccer pitch, 2 full size hockey pitches, 2 mini hockey pitches, 2 basketball courts, 16 tennis courts, 2 cricket pitches, track and field facilities, a gym and a sports hall. How was such a school even eligible for a grant when there is so much need in other areas?

“Minister Ross is reinforcing disadvantage and he is reinforcing privilege. Instead of carrying out an audit of disadvantaged areas and targeting areas in serious need, we have an open competition which clearly favours large, financially healthy private entities over small voluntary community groups.

“Junior Minister Griffin appears very comfortable with golf clubs that charge over €8,000 a year in fees having the bill for their facilities picked up by the taxpayer, whilst voluntary clubs are left with no facilities at all.

“This is the blatant inequality that both Ministers are happy to stand over.” 

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