Ross says he had no ‘hand, act or part’ in Wesley College grant

Minister says he had been ‘cheering for them’ but never made a representation

Shane Ross said the decision was made on the basis of a scoring system within the Department and he just ‘signed off on that.’ Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Shane Ross said the decision was made on the basis of a scoring system within the Department and he just ‘signed off on that.’ Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

 

Minister for Sport Shane Ross has insisted he did not have “hand act or part” in the decision to give a sports grant to Wesley College.

The private, fee-paying school, which is in his Dublin Rathdown constituency, was awarded a grant of €150,000 .

Mr Ross told RTÉ’s Today with Sean O’Rourke Show on Thursday he was not part of the process . The decision was made on the basis of a scoring system within his department and he just “signed off on that.”

However, he acknowledged he had been “cheering for them,” but denied making a representation on their behalf.

The chair of Tallaght Community School, which was unsuccessful in its application for a grant, said that while he did not begrudge Wesley, he felt there had been a level of goodwill toward the college that Tallaght did not have.

Cllr Mick Duff said the community school is in an area of deprivation and therefore it should be considered above a fee-paying school.

Mr Ross said he did not understand why Tallaght Community School had not been successful. He said his department will have to be “a little less rigid and more communicative” in its method of evaluating applications.

The system is going under reform because the application process had been too complex, he said, pledging that it will be more user friendly in future.

One issue about which Mr Ross was happy to say he had campaigned vigorously for was the reopening of Stepaside Garda station.

“That was one of my campaign issues and I make no apology for that,” he said, adding the Garda station is very much needed in Stepaside.

He said a suggestion that a new station be built in Cherrywood instead was not feasible because the Garda station was needed immediately.