Clubs line up for €40m boost
The Government is expected to confirm tomorrow that €40m will be made available to sports clubs to improve their facilities next year.
It has been known for some weeks now that the next round of sports capital grants, planned for 2015, would be brought forward a year, and this is expected to be confirmed by Michael Ring, Minister for State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport tomorrow.
The Sunday Independent has learned that a total of €40m has been set aside to invest in sports capital projects, and that approximately €34m of that will be earmarked directly for community-based clubs, with the balance intended to fund regional schemes.
The last round of sports capital grants was in 2012, when €30m was made available. An incredible total of 2,152 sports clubs applied for grants at that time and ultimately 32 regional and 615 local projects were awarded funding.
Department officials are expecting clubs to apply in even greater numbers this time and Ring is privately said to be determined that all applications will be judged on their merits. It is expected that the Department will begin to accept applications from clubs in mid-January; however, it will be the summer at the earliest before final decisions are made on successful bids.
As before, a significant sum of money will be set aside to support clubs based in disadvantaged areas.
The last round of grants supported a wide variety of developments, including new grass and artificial pitches, floodlighting, pitch drainage and upgrades, security fencing, stop ball netting and the construction or refurbishing of clubhouses and sports halls.