Facts and figures show Lottery gamblers where their money goes

 

PUNTERS would be amazed if they knew where 33p of every £1 gambled on the Lottery goes. Or they would if they trawled through the 216-page list published yesterday by the Department of Finance.

Every Scout den, library delivery van and sod of artificial turf ever purchased with a Lottery grant is listed in the grandly-titled National Lottery Beneficiary Compendium.

It tells us that a little-known swimmer called Michelle Smith got £20,000 in the seven years from 1987 to 1994. Another swimmer, Gary O'Toole, got almost the same before he dropped off the list in 1992.

The Slievenamon Set Dancing Club got £9,000 in 1988 towards its performance in the US. And the FAI got £500 towards the performance of the Augustinian Junior Choir from Drogheda at the opening ceremony of Euro 88 at the Rhine Stadium in Dusseldorf.

Then there was the £2,000 grant to the Labour TD, Jim Kemmy, in 1988 towards his special edition of the Old Limerick Journal to commemorate the Australian Bicentenary.

In 1992 the Poor Servants of the Mother of God in Raheny, Dublin, became a little less poor with a £100,000 grant. And Joyce proved to be better value than Yeats - the travelling costs of his photographic exhibition came to £158.39 compared to the Yeats exhibition grant of £772.43.

This was also the year when £6 million of Lottery funding compensated haemophiliacs infected with the HIV virus.

A National Lottery spokeswoman said 33p in every £1 goes to donations. Last year it took in a record £303 million which was handed over to the Government, and Cabinet allocated spending.

Each year health and welfare projects receive almost the same proportion, around 35 per cent, as youth, sports and recreation projects. This has led to accusations that Lottery money is replacing Exchequer funds.

The Government has been criticised for not publishing more information on where exactly the money goes. Yesterday it did in a document that the Department of Finance said would become an "accessible stand-alone guide to Lottery funding expenditure".

But those looking for proof that the Lottery is a political honeypot will have a job to find out which constituencies benefited most and when. There is a limited geographical breakdown and little in the way of alphabetical listing.

Every Oireachtas member, county librarian, university and regional technical college can look forward to a copy landing with a resounding thump on their desks. The National Library and National Archive will also receive copies.