Fine Gael TD and Minister of State Tom Hayes has rejected claims that Clonmel was ignored in the allocation of grants under the Sports Capital Programme.
Last week independent TDs Seamus Healy and Mattie McGrath hit out at the exclusion of Clonmel clubs from the €1.2m allocated to Tipperary.
Minister Hayes says he strongly refutes the ‘scurrilous allegations’.
He says that €120,000 has been secured as part of a joint application by Clonmel Commercials GAA Club, Clonmel Hockey Club, Loreto Secondary School in Clonmel and St Mary’s Hurling Club in Clonmel.
The funding was listed under the Tipperary Education and Training Board and not under the clubs’ own names.
“This is a game changer for the clubs involved, and the funding will be used to build a full size AstroTurf pitch on the Raheen Road. This was completely ignored by Opposition deputies”, he said.
“I made representations on behalf of a number of Tipperary sports clubs, and I am delighted at the level of funding awarded to the county. The Sports Capital Programme was shut down by the previous Fianna Fáil Government. But despite limited resources, this Government reopened the programme because we realise it is a vital source of revenue for sports clubs and community organisations.
“I strongly refute the baseless and scurrilous allegations made by a number of Opposition deputies last week. Instead of stooping to their level, I would like to stick to the facts. Thirty-four sports clubs across Tipperary are set to benefit from more than €1.2 million in funding thanks to the latest round of the Sports Capital Programme.
“Every year the Sports Capital Programme is oversubscribed and as a result it is inevitable that some clubs will be left disappointed. This year, applications totalling €160 million were made to the Programme, which had a budget of €40 million. In other words, the level of demand outstripped the resources available by four to one.
“I have closely examined the list of invalid applications submitted to the Department, which reveals that applications from 39 sports clubs in Tipperary were deemed to be invalid. A total of 14 clubs based in South Tipperary were judged to have invalid applications, including Clonmel Boxing Club. This underlines the need to ensure all forms are filled correctly and adequate information is supplied.
“I was very disappointed that Clonmel Rowing Club was not successful and I intend to work closely with the club on its application for the next round of Funding. Meanwhile, I will leave Opposition TDs to shout from the sidelines.”