Shameless ministers helped clean the fortune in taxpayer money for plush golf clubs after intensive lobbying, it appeared.
The Irish mirror can show that they wrote dozens of letters for a share in the multi-million Sports Capital program.
The government describes this scheme as its “main asset for financing sports and social organizations”.
It states that grants are intended to “prioritize the needs of disadvantaged areas and groups (for example, people with disabilities) in the provision of sports facilities.”
But in March there were heaps of cash from last year’s round of grants that were sent to private golf clubs and paid schools.
Now the letters received in accordance with the “Freedom of Information” show that the key players in Fine Gael lobbied the department on their behalf.
Last night, Sinn Fein TD Imelda Munster said: "Clubs with an abundance of modern facilities get the maximum grant, while local clubs without a field get a few hundred euros for a lawnmower."
Tanaist and foreign minister, Simon Coveny, wrote on July 30 last year when he was minister of housing:
He wrote: “The Kobh, Ko Cork Golf Club contacted us in connection with their application for funding under the Sport Capital program. I would be very grateful if you could attach your application for consideration. ” Later, Kob received 56,500 euros.
He sent an identical letter to the Mallow Golf Club in Ballialis, Mallow, Ko Cork, which collected 70,000 euros.
Business Minister Heather Humphreys wrote three letters on behalf of three golf clubs in his constituency Kavan-Monaghan.
On May 8, 2017, when she was the Minister of Arts, in her letter to the Minister of Transport, Tourism and Sports, Shane Ross said: “I want to support the Mannansky Castle Golf Club in their application for much-needed funding.
“The club is owned by members and hopes to attract new members by developing and improving the quality of the golf course.
On May 26, 2017, she wrote another letter: “I strongly support Rossmore Golf Club in the application for funding under the Sport Capital program.
Then, on June 12, 2017, she wrote: “I want to support the aforementioned club (Belturbet Golf Club) in the application for funding.
“He is applying for funding to upgrade his drainage system and buy a new mower.”
Subsequently, in a message to Facebook, she wrote: “ATTENTION: a sports capital grant announcement! I am pleased to announce that the following clubs were successful under the Sport Capital 2017 program.
Rossmore Golf Club received € 36,500, Mannan Castle received € 25,000, and Belturbet Golf Club received € 5,500.
In 2014, before he was Minister of Health Simon Harris, he wrote: “I want to write in support of the Delgany Golf Club to transfer the room to an indoor training academy and to build buggy routes.”
In last year’s distribution, the club, which levies annual membership dues in the amount of 1,870 euros, was awarded 65,500 euros.
Denis Notten, before he resigned as Minister of the Environment, wrote to Mr. Ross: “I am writing to you on behalf of Ballinasloe Golf Club, Ballinasloe, Co Galway regarding Grant for sports capital.”
The club was awarded € 31,500.
Defense Secretary Paul Kehoe wrote to Patrick O & # 39; Donovan last year's junior sports minister in support of his local Enniscorthy Golf Club for € 110,900.
After the application was rejected, Mr. Kehoe wrote in January to the new Minister Brendan Griffin.
He wrote: “I was tied up by a club that informed me that they were denied on the grounds that they are considered to be a“ private / commercial organization ”that they support, and this is not so.”
Subsequently, the club received 58,000 euros.
Less than a month after he became Minister of Mental Health and the Elderly, Jim Daly contacted Mr. Griffin.
The letter was to lobby for his local Skibbereen golf clubs and the West Carbery Golf Club and Bandon Golf Club.
He continued his official letters last July. Mr. Daley wrote: “In addition to our conversation in
Regarding the above, I would appreciate it if you would formally acknowledge my support for this application.
“I would also like to thank you for informing me of any progress or deadlines for the final announcements.”
Subsequently, Bandon received € 41,000, and Skiberen received 7,500 euros.
Patrick O & # 39; Donovan was the junior sports minister 2016 – 2017.
After he was transferred to the junior Minister of Public Procurement and an open government, he sent a letter to Mr. Griffin in October last year.
He wrote: “I’m contacting you on behalf of Newcastle West Golf Club at Co Limerick, who submitted an application under the Sport Capital 2017 program.
“I want to support this, and I would appreciate it if you could keep me up to date with the status of this application.
"Thank you in advance, and I look forward to your reply."
Subsequently, he was awarded 8,500 euros.
In 2012, he made two presentations to the then Minister of Sports, Mikhail Ricklou, first in April, and the second in November as the closing date for applications.
He wrote: “In addition to my earlier correspondence to which you responded in April 2012, I would like to make statements in your department on behalf of Newcastle West Golf Club who applied to your department for funding under the Sports Capital grants scheme . Since you will know that the club is able to fulfill its contribution to the cost of this work. "
The following year he was awarded 45,000 euros. Marcella Corcoran Kennedy was Associate Minister for Health Promotion on March 28, 2017, when she wrote to Mr. O Donovan on behalf of Birr Golf Club.
She said: "I would be very grateful if you could seriously consider their application." The club received 50,000 euros.
Ms. Münster insists that the government did not ensure that the funds reach those who need it most.
A spokeswoman for the sports party, Sinn Fein, said that the ministers should insist on getting money for disadvantaged groups and not squander it in elite golf clubs.
She said: “Last week I asked a few questions on the transport committee when both sports ministers Shane Ross and Brendan Griffin were there.
“I asked him what plans, given the fiasco last year, whether he had taken some funds this year, a percentage of funding, for disadvantaged areas, especially when he said that part of his new sports policy he launched was participation.
“One way to increase participation is to provide funds in areas where there are no funds.”
Last night, the Irish Daily Mirror asked Fan Gael to respond to the statements of his ministers.
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