10 clubs excluded from grants due to high entry fees

10 clubs excluded from grants due to high entry fees

Ten sports clubs, including a school and hockey club in the constituency of Sports Minister Shane Ross, were excluded from receiving Government grants because of the high fees they charge for members or students.

New rules were introduced after controversy two years ago over the awarding of large grants to two private schools in Mr Ross’ Dublin South base.

For the latest round of funding — new rules were in place so that clubs or schools with a once-off entrance fee of over €1,000 or an annual fee of €1,500 would be “excluded from receiving a grant offer”.

One of the schools to be refused funding was St Columba’s College, where Mr Ross’ late father was once a governor and where both of his children had also attended.

It had made an application as Claesz Enterprises along with Corinthian Hockey Club for €145,000 for “fencing, [a] fitness room, disabled access, and dugouts”.

However, an internal department record listed its annual membership as €8,241 and it was excluded because of its “high fees”.

Two private schools, both in Dublin, and eight golf clubs around the country (four in Dublin) were also excluded.

A separate briefing said that the Sports Capital Programme had “been criticised in the past” for funding clubs and schools that charged very high membership or entrance fees for students.

New rules on granting allocations were introduced to “ensure that as much money as possible goes to the most deserving organisations”.

The briefing also explained how even a per capita system of allocating the same amount to each county based on population could end up being unfair.

It said that lower numbers of applications from Dublin and the sheer size of some city clubs meant that low-scoring applications in the capital sometimes succeeded.

Among the other systems for funding they looked at was ignoring county boundaries and simply awarding funding to the projects that scored highest in their assessments. However, because all projects in a county are assessed by a single person, “consistency in marking” could become an issue.

Eventually, a system excluding the 25% lowest-scoring applications from each county as well as providing funding 50/50 based on population and demand was recommended to Mr Ross and his colleague Brendan Griffin.

In total, €37m was provided as part of the funding round with another €2.5m allocated for regional projects.

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