Clane school track cited in national sports grant debate

Application system will be more friendly says Minister

Henry Bauress

Reporter:

Henry Bauress

Email:

henry.bauress@leinsterleader.ie

Clane school track cited in national sports grant debate

File photo: Clane

Scoil Mhuire’s plans for an athletic track at its site in Clane was mentioned in a row over sports grants.

Minister for Sport, Shane Ross, came out to defend a decision to give a sports €150,000 grant to Wesley College, a private, fee-paying school in his constituency,

The Minister was speaking on RTE last Thursday following the publication of an article by the Sunday Business Post on March 18 which headlined a story, “Ross turned down 30 public schools before giving huge grant to Wesley.”

The article said the Department of Sport received 48 applications from schools nationwide but turned down 30 of them.

It also named Scoil Mhuire in Clane, which sought €150,000 for an athletics track, as one that was turned down.

It also named St Mary’s Secondary school in Edenderry which failed in an application for €92,000 for a multi sport playing pitch.

Last year Clane Tennis Club got €105,000 to expand its facilities following disappointment the previous year.

Scoil Mhuire got planning permission from Kildare County Council on July 12 2017 to build a new six lane athletics track with straight sprint lanes.

The school said it will be used by the school, the boys and girls national schools and Clane Athletic club.

Research by the Leader in recent years showed that of the approximate €2.6m granted to Clane area organisations from the Sports Grants scheme between 1998 and 2015, 85% went to either Clane GAA or Rathcoffey GAA with another 10% going to Clane Utd.

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

Mr Ross said his department will have to be “a little less rigid and more communicative” in its method of evaluating applications.

The applications and adjudication 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.

SEE ALSO: Kildare based researchers share in €30m funding investment announced by Government