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Dublin 'is being cheated out of' sport grants - FF

A GOVERNMENT minister has favoured his own constituency in the allocation of sports grants at the expense of Dublin, a city councillor has said.

Junior Sports Minister Michael Ring has awarded twice the amount of funds to Mayo County Council than Dublin city, Fianna Fail's Jim O'Callaghan has revealed.

The Mayo local authority was granted €677,991 by Mr Ring, a native of the county, while Dublin city received only €341,400 of the €4.5m total.



Unfairness

"Dublin has been short-changed by the new Government," Mr O'Callaghan said.

"Although Dublin city is the most populated local authority area, it only received sports grants of €341,400. This amounts to 7.5pc of the total sports grants approved.

"In contrast, Mayo County Council has been approved for grants of €677,991, which constitutes 15pc of the total sports grant, twice the amount allocated to Dublin."

However, Mr Ring's party Fine Gael pointed out Dublin city and county received over €1m, a quarter of the funding.

Nevertheless, Mr O'Callaghan described as "extraordinary" the amount of funding afforded to Mayo County Council.

"It has been approved for twice the funding of Dublin. The unfairness of the favouritism displayed towards Mayo is even more apparent when the funding is examined on a per capita basis," Mr O'Callaghan said.

Based on the 2011 census figures, the grant to Mayo means it is receiving €4.20 per person. In contrast, Dublin city residents are only receiving 64 cent per person.

Mr O'Callaghan said: "Although we were told the age of cronyism was dead, it appears that the only rational explanation for the people of Dublin being treated so unfairly is that the Taoiseach and his Minister for Sport, both Mayo men, are more concerned about looking after their own back yard rather than sharing limited State resources in a fair fashion."

A Fine Gael spokesman said Mr O'Callaghan "should get his facts right before he attacks this scheme".

"Dublin received around a quarter of all funding under the local authority sports capital scheme.



Sums

"The four local authorities in the Dublin area received just over €1m in funding for 42 separate projects, out of total funding of €4.5m for 111 projects nationally.

"Every project that applied for funding was able to get funding under this scheme, as long as it was lodged before the deadline and met the quality criteria," he told the Herald.

"If there's any problem here it's with Cllr O'Callaghan, who could have encouraged his own local authority to get even more projects through to funding stage.

"Then again, it's no surprise that Fianna Fail got the country into such a mess, if they can't even get their basic sums right," the spokesman added.

comurphy@herald.ie