The starting gun has been fired this morning on one of the most important and potentially largest Government funding schemes for sport.
The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross T.D. and the Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin T.D. have announced that applications are being invited for funding under the new Large Scale Sport Infrastructure Fund (LSSIF).
The fund will be open for applications until April 2019 and a minimum of €100m is being provided.
The new fund will initially focus on the requirements and development plans of National Governing Bodies of Sport and Local Authorities.
“2018 has been a phenomenal year for Irish sport and we are determined to provide the necessary investment to ensure this success continues,” said Minister Ross.
“The establishment of the LSSIF confirms the commitment expressed in the National Development Plan and the National Sports Policy 2018 – 2027 to increase investment in sporting facilities across the state.”
“This fund offers tremendous possibilities to develop high quality sports facilities and I have no doubt there will be a huge level of interest across all sports and all regions.”
We are already aware of specific plans that are ready to be submitted from the RDS and Leinster Rugby for the redevelopment of the RDS Arena; by Connacht Rugby for the development of the Showgrounds in Galway, by Dublin City Council and the FAI for Dalymount Park in Dublin and by Cricket Ireland for the development of a new National Stadium for the sport at the National Sports Campus.
There will be projects as well from the GAA, Hockey and others while swimming pool projects that were previously treated separately with their own fund will now be rolled into this.
“This is another important day for Irish sport,” added Minister of State Brendan Griffin.
“Decisions to provide Government funding for large sports projects were previously made on an ad-hoc basis and there wasn’t any mechanism to apply for funding. This new fund represents a transparent and competitive process whereby all sports organisations and local authorities can apply.”
“Apart from the obvious health and social benefits, the projects that are ultimately awarded grants under this new fund will also provide a significant economic benefit to their respective areas.”
The scheme will consist of two streams. Stream One, which is aimed at smaller NGBs and Local Authorities, will help fund the development of proposals to tender stage. Stream Two will assist applicants to bring projects from tender stage to completion.
There will be a minimum contribution of 30% needed from applicants toward the cost of the projects to be considered.
The details of the scheme will be published later this morning but will encourage multi-functional sports facilities that will serve more than one sport, and a collaborative approach between sports, NGBs and LAs will also encouraged and such projects will be viewed more favourably.
The new fund is separate and distinct from the Department’s long-running Sports Capital Programme (SCP). The SCP is focused on smaller capital projects where the maximum grant is €150,000 for local projects.
A number of decisions on projects submitted under the 2017 scheme and then resubmitted this year are expected to be announced in the coming weeks while the bulk of the €40 million in funding and how it will be distributed among the clubs who applied for four times that amount will be announced in Spring 2019.
Image Credit: Ramsey Cardy, Sportsfile