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Sunday 19 August 2018

Private school in Sports Minister's constituency awarded €150k grant after appeal

Transport Minister Shane Ross. Photo: Fergal Phillips
Transport Minister Shane Ross. Photo: Fergal Phillips

Sasha Brady

A PRIVATE school in South Dublin awarded €150,000 for their hockey pitch was initially turned down for the grant but secured the money on appeal.

Sports Minister Shane Ross has come under fire for congratulating Wesley College, a private school in his constituency on receiving a €150,000grant for their hockey pitch.

In a tweet the minister congratulated the school writing: "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".

The application for Wesley College was made jointly with the YMCA Hockey Club and a licence agreement was provided showing that the facilities would be used for the benefit of the club outside of school hours. 

Leinster Hockey, the board that's responsible for promoting and developing the game in the province, welcomed the news and said the donation was great for hockey in Leinster.

However, many people on social media hit out at the fact that Wesley College, whose fees start at €6,250 per academic year, received the donation.

One person commented on Twitter: "What a disgrace! Throwing money at private schools for a pitch that's rented out for profit while sports clubs live out of portacabins."

The Sports Capital Programme grants scheme was set up to "prioritise the needs of disadvantaged areas in the provision of sports facilities".

Grants are available to sports clubs, voluntary and community groups, national governing bodies of sport and local authorities. Third level colleges, Education and Training Boards (ETBs) and schools may only apply for funding jointly with sports clubs or organisations.

The scheme also offers support to elite athletes.

A spokesperson for the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) said €60 million was allocated to 1,800 projects under the 2017 round of the SCP.

This also included €10m for the redevelopment of Cork's Páirc Uí Chaoimh and €7.5m for a health and leisure programme at Institute of Technology Tralee.

Wesley College's initial application was deemed invalid but the school submitted an appeal in January. The department said that 149 appeals were submitted prior to the deadlines and 35 of these appeals were upheld.

Other groups and schools who were awarded through the appeals process include Loreto Beaufort in Rathfarnham, Three Rock Rovers in Rathfarnham and Glenane Hockey Club in Tallaght.

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