An announcement is imminent on how the €30m which has been made available by the government in the sports capital programme will be divvied up.
The scheme was massively oversubscribed and no matter what the outcome, there will be plenty ready to cry foul. In total, there were 2,152 applications, seeking a total of €224,309,559. Only Dublin, Cork, Galway and Limerick have more applications lodged than Minister for Sport Michael Ring's native Mayo. He will be damned if he does, and damned if he doesn't on this one.
Ring (pictured) knows he will be under scrutiny when the successful applicants are finally announced, and that any hint of political favouritism – such a feature of the sports capital programme in the past – will be highlighted. The minister has consistently said that priority will be given to facilities which are shared, or community-based, and this is likely to count against the GAA. He reaffirmed this again in an interview last week.
"The priority this time will be shared facilities. We want the facilities used. The facilities that are there, I can do nothing about, they're there now. It's a matter for the organisations to do whatever they can to get people into them and get them filled. That's their business."
Once the final decisions are made it is important that there be no bureaucratic hold-ups in making the money available to the successful applicants. All too often this is a failing in the system which can cause damage to those relying on quick payment.
Ultimately, most of the projects which will benefit from the scheme will be utilising local resources and creating employment locally. For many, it will be a real lifeline, and the last thing that's needed is red tape wrapping the whole thing up.
Sunday Indo Sport