Fianna Fáil Education Spokesperson Thomas Byrne has called for greater transparency on the awarding of sports grants to schools.

Deputy Byrne said, “Clear guidance needs to be given to schools on sports capital grants by the Department of Education and the Department of Sport.  Many schools are confused by the system, which generally requires a sports club to join in the school’s application.  No information is provided to schools and many patrons, in my experience, are reluctant to get involved with outside sports clubs.

“Schools will be watching with interest the recent award on appeal of a massive sum of public money to one private school which already has significant facilities.  Credit was given by the school to Minister Jospeha Madigan and, indeed, credit was claimed by Minister Shane Ross.

“However, for the average school, there is only an information page on the Department of Education’s website which is actually a dead link https://www.education.ie/en/The-Department/Announcements/Sports-Capital-Grants-and-Educational-Facilities.html.   It seems that some schools have an “in” with certain Ministers while others simply are not given the information.

“The Ministers for Education and Sports must give a level playing field to all schools.  When two south Dublin Ministers are claiming credit for a massive sports grant to a private school while most don’t know how to apply, something is wrong.

“A ministerial circular is urgently needed to explaining how schools can apply for a sports grant.  It needs to happen soon or the stench of unfairness will continue to hang around this process.”