Tánaiste defends grant to private school in Ross’s constituency

Mick Barry says Sports Minister ‘trumpeting’ grant as deprived schools get ’not a button’

Tánaiste Simon Coveney said the funding would benefit the community as a whole rather than just the school.

Tánaiste Simon Coveney said the funding would benefit the community as a whole rather than just the school.

 

Tánaiste Simon Coveney has defended the €150,000 sports grant for a hockey pitch to a private school in the Dublin Rathdown constituency of Minister for Sport Shane Ross.

Solidarity TD Mick Barry claimed Mr Ross saw fit to “trumpet” the grant to fee-paying Wesley College “while dozens of public schools in more deprived areas failed to get a button”.

Mr Barry claimed there was an inbuilt “blatant class bias” in the capital sports grant system “where clubs and schools that own their premises and grounds have greater scope for capital investment than clubs that rent their spaces”.

The Cork North-Central TD called for a debate on how national sports grants were allocated and how to increase the level of participation in sport throughout the country.

The Tánaiste insisted that the money was allocated through an independent process.

Mr Coveney said the Minister’s only role was to “approve the monetary allocation proposed by officials”.

He pointed out that schools can apply for funding provided the application is made jointly with another sports club.

The Tánaiste said the funding would benefit the community as a whole rather than just the school because it applied with the local YMCA which “will be able to use the facilities concerned”.