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 Header Item Sports Capital Programme Administration (Continued)
 Header Item Traffic Calming Measures

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 962 No. 3

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Brendan Griffin: Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin]  The Minister, Deputy Ross, and I were extremely determined to ensure that the true merits of applicants were reflected in allocations. We feel we have come up with a way of doing that which is transparent and entirely fair. We are proud of it because it is a step in the right direction for the sports capital programme, which will have a meaningful impact on many communities when funding is allocated. For the volunteers, there has been a delay because of the extra funding and an unprecedented number of applications - 2,320 is the highest ever - but it was worth waiting for because, ultimately, we will have a very good programme this year.

Deputy Robert Troy: Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy It is welcome that €56 million will be spent by various sporting bodies throughout the country. The Minister said that 20% of applications for grants would be deemed ineligible. Will they only get confirmation of that when the announcement is made on Thursday next? There are clubs eagerly looking forward to getting money but on Thursday they will receive bad news and this needs to be addressed, given the time and effort clubs put into these applications, although I accept that the problem has been reduced.

I suggested that all of the 80% eligible applicants receive some funding on the basis of the points system that has been introduced and it is welcome that this is happening. I met a local group in Moate, County Westmeath, and advised it on how to proceed and what supporting documentation it needed to submit. I also advised the group to approach other politicians. One of the members of the Independent Alliance group, of which the Minister, Deputy Ross, is also a member, said that if people were seen talking to Deputies on this side of the House, it could go against their applications. I would not like that to be the case. I welcome the fact that 80% of applicants will get good news on Thursday and that it will be done on a points basis in order that clubs which worked hard to put together good applications, with all the necessary supporting documentation, will be rewarded.

There have been so many applications because we have moved away from operating this scheme on an annual basis. I encourage the Minister of State to move it to an annual basis so that ineligible people do not have to wait too long to reapply.

Deputy Brendan Griffin: Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin I have been involved in sports organisations all my life - running them and participating in them - and I understand from where the volunteers who run such organisations are coming. I am excited about being able to help them this week with grants, as is the Minister, Deputy Ross, and it is a really positive story. Funding is allocated per county and we have moved away from the bad old days when the money went where the politics determined, which was not the right way to go about it. It is based on a points system and on the amount of eligible funding sought.

Some clubs might have received notification of invalidation from the sports capital unit if there were questions regarding their applications, particularly where works being applied for had already been carried out. That would be a very small minority, however, and the majority will find out this week. In future rounds, I want to eliminate the issue of invalidation with something like an over-the-counter system, in which the application can be stamped and validated, or an early bird system whereby a person comes in a month before the deadline to ensure that everything has been validated. In the case of some misdemeanours or minor reasons for invalidation, such as a bank statement that might be two weeks out of date or a letter, figure or name which is missing, we should be able to give a second chance to people. Unfortunately, some invalidations are very cruel. I am not committing to this but I am exploring the possibility, even in the current round, of finding an administrative way of doing something, within the budget, which is not too burdensome on the officials in the Department. A very limited number of people are working on this in the office in Killarney, which is in my constituency. Ultimately, applicants are volunteers helping their communities and we want to help them.

Traffic Calming Measures

Deputy Tom Neville: Information on Tom Neville Zoom on Tom Neville Kilcornan is a small village located on the N69, a national secondary route, in rural County Limerick. The N69 is a coastal road which runs from Limerick to Tralee via Foynes. The issue concerns traffi-calming measures that are proposed for the route. Concerns relating to those measures were originally raised by the community on 8 September 2015. This road has been a danger point for many years and that fact has been brought to the attention of successive Ministers. I proposed that speed-limit measures be extended in 2004, which seems like a lifetime ago. However, my suggestion has been constantly refused, first by the National Roads Authority, the NRA, and then by Transport Infrastructure Ireland, TII.

Kilcornan stretches from the church to the community centre for about a mile and a half on the N69. The fact that it is located along this expanse of the road is the biggest challenge. The focal point of the proposal relates to the community hub, which comprises the school, the GAA pitch and the Ger McDonnell Park astroturf pitch. All of these are accessed by people from neighbouring villages and towns - such as Kildimo, Pallaskenry and Adare - with which Kilcornan has joined up to form an under-age soccer team. There is, as a result, a glut of traffic coming onto the road, particularly between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. or 3 p.m. On the Askeaton side, there is a blind bend and people take their lives into their hands when they come out onto the road. There is no hard shoulder and no space for cars to move from one side to another. Neither is there any room to put traffic islands in place.

A meeting took place on 8 September 2015 and proposals have been submitted to TII. There has been correspondence between the council and the TII on a proposal that has been shown to the community. Every time it goes back to TII, however, further design measures and updates are sought. The community is becoming frustrated as to what will be the outcome. I was a local councillor in September 2015 and we were unanimous in wanting to see traffic-calming measures put in place in Kilcornan. However, the communication back and forth between TII and Limerick City and County Council suggests that the can is being kicked down the road. Can the Minister give us a timeline for when this project will be completed, what funding is required and from where that funding might come?

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding of the national roads programme. The planning, design and implementation of individual road projects are a matter for TII in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.

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