Health sector gains by £43m from Lottery generosity


MORE than £43 million in National Lottery funds was spent on building and equipping health facilities between 1987 and 1994. And haemophiliacs infected with the HIV virus from contaminated blood received more than £9 million in compensation from the Lottery.

The figures are included in a detailed list of grant allocations published by the Department of Finance yesterday.

The health payments represent almost 10 per cent of the £610 million spent in its first seven years.

Figures already published by the National Lottery have shown that funding for health and welfare projects exceeds that for youth, sports and recreation projects.

In the first seven years of the Lottery 35 per cent of grants went to health and welfare projects compared to 34 per cent for youth, sports and recreation.

Sport and recreation, national culture and the arts are all listed above the category of "the Health of the Community" as the appropriate uses for the Lottery surplus in the National Lottery Act of 1986. Welfare is listed as an "additional beneficiary category."

Arts culture and national heritage projects have received 24 per cent and the Irish language 7 per cent.

Yesterday's report, entitled the National Lottery Beneficiary Compendium, shows that the large amount of health grants went towards "capital expenditure" (defined as building, equipping and furnishing of health facilities) rather than projects.

In the last three years listed in the report three amounts of £11 million and more have been listed as "capital expenditure" grants.

The report shows that in 1989 £1 million was paid into a fund for the compensation of haemophiliacs. A further £2 million in 1991 and £6 million was allocated in 1992. In 1993 there was a payment of £77,049.

The sum allocated to social welfare projects such as grants to voluntary and community organisations has increased more than fivefold.

In 1987, the first year of operation, there was no allocation to social welfare projects. In 1988 there was £850,000 and in 1994 £4.73 million.

The report, to be circulated to libraries, details the Departments to which people can apply for funding.

Sports institutions which received large grants include the Croke Park development fund which received £4.9 million in 1994 and the refurbishment of Morton Stadium in Santry which received more than £1.29 million. The Ballyshannon swimming pool in Donegal has received £1.5 million to date.

The Sean Kelly Sports Complex in Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary, has received £650,000 and Sligo swimming pool has been allocated £1.5 million.

In 1988 almost £1 million was allocated to the National Sports Centre. And Waterford Regional Sports Centre got £300,000.

The FAI and the Olympic Council of Ireland have also received substantial grants.