Thursday 23 January 2020

Shane Ross 'will not tolerate unfair condemnation' of €150k school sports grant

Shane Ross will reply today. Photo: Kyran O'Brien
Shane Ross will reply today. Photo: Kyran O'Brien

Conor McCrave

Shane Ross has said he "will not tolerate the unfair condemnation" surrounding a €150,000 grant awarded to a fee-paying school in his constituency in 2016.

In a column in the Irish Daily Mirror today, Ross insisted he had no involvement with a €150,000 award given to private school Wesley College in his constituency for the resurfacing of a hockey pitch in 2016.

“The recent narrative surrounding sports grants has been wrong and one-sided. I will not tolerate this unfair condemnation of a scheme that has helped so many communities over the years,” he said.

Ross, who is the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport criticised the media and said there was no “political interference” under his watch.

“The narrative so far has been to cherry-pick only projects that suit certain angles. Much misleading comment has also been made in the media alleging that I personally chose who got grants this is completely false.”

According to Ross, funding allocated to wealthy private schools received “sizable grants” in exchange for opening their facilities to the public.

“The local YMCA club will get 31.5 hours a week access to Wesley Hockey pitch. The local national school and other will also use it.”

Ross also insisted that he was not to blame for some clubs receiving smaller grants because that was all they applied for.

“One example being FC Dhulaigh in Coolock – a club that I have no doubt is doing great things for its members. It got a grant of €600. The way it was portrayed was that it for the small change that was left-over. Once again – blatantly wrong. They actually got 100pc of what they applied for”.

He added: "Had they applied for more, they would have received more. But it is hardly my fault that they didn’t, and to attempt to suggest otherwise does a disservice to truth.”

Ross’ tweet on March 9 sparked outrage when he was accused of intervening on behalf of the fee-paying school in Ballinteer.

The tweet said “Delighted to confirm that @wesleycollege has been granted €150,000 as part of Sports Capital Programme. The funding will ensure the resurfacing of the hockey pitch and will benefit the school as well as @YMCAHC

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