Minister Shane Ross has explained a tweet he sent earlier this month about funding for Wesley College which sparked outrage.
On March 9, the Minister tweeted: 'Delighted to confirm that Wesley College has been granted €150,000 as part of the Sports Capital Programme. The funding will ensure the resurfacing of the hockey pitch, and will benefit the school as well as the YMCA Hockey Club'.
Delighted to confirm that @wesleycollege has been granted €150,000 as part of Sports Capital Programme. The funding will ensure the resurfacing of the hockey pitch and will benefit the school as well as @YMCAHC pic.twitter.com/HlPSK0mUoA— Shane Ross (@Shane_RossTD) March 9, 2018
Soon after his tweet it was highlighted that Wesley College is a fee-paying school in the Minister’s own constituency and that 30 public schools were turned down in the process.
The Minister for Sport told RTÉ Radio 1's 'Today with Sean O'Rourke' programme this morning that, while he was delighted for Wesley College, it did not mean he had a hand in the decision.
Mr Ross said: "I was delighted, didn't mean I was involved in the process..
"I had absolutely nothing to do with it whatsoever, bar signing off."
He said that the system in place meant that scoring for applications was done by officials, and that when it came to him he would sign off without interference, observations or comment.
"I never made a representation to any official" @Shane_RossTD discusses the sports grant Wesley College received from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport #TodaySOR pic.twitter.com/AsDJ0qrr7I— Today Sean O'Rourke (@TodaySOR) March 22, 2018
Mr Ross told Sean that Wesley was originally denied in its application.
However, he also admitted that it was irresponsible of him to tweet about his delight.
The Minister said: "Yeah, I think it probably was, but I've sent some pretty irresponsible tweets around from time to time."
Also on 'Today with Sean O'Rourke' this morning Mary Daly, Principal at St Dominic’s College in Ballyfermot in Dublin, explained how their sports hall has 14 leaks in the roof and that the joints under the floor are rotten.
Ms Daly also claimed that it was going to be difficult to encourage young girls to participate in sport when their shower facilities are unavailable and their changing facilities are inadequate.
Mick Duff, Chairman of the Board of Tallaght Community School and also a Labour Councillor, spoke of having applied many times for funding for a small all-weather pitch, and having to pay fees each time he applied.