Some €40 million will be made available for the new 2018 Sports Capital Programme, a Fine Gael TD has said.

Chair of the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party and Kildare South TD, Martin Heydon, has received confirmation from Minister of State with responsibility for Sport Brendan Griffin that formal sanction has been received from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in recent days to open a new round of the programme. The Minister was replying to a Paarliamentary Question from Deputy Heydon this week.

Deputy Heydon said: “This is excellent news. The sum of €40 million is an increase from last year will be a great resource for which clubs all round Ireland can apply.

“The Sports Capital Programme supports clubs and organisations on the ground, and we very much look forward to getting that money into communities around the Country in order that these organisations can improve their sporting infrastructure for everybody’s benefit.

“I have also raised concerns with my Fine Gael colleague, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Brendan Griffin, about those clubs whose applications were deemed invalid in the last round. We need to amend the process of dealing with invalid applications for future rounds of the programme.

“The Minister shared my frustrations. Those decisions were disappointing for clubs and volunteers who invested a great deal of time and effort in filling out the applications.

“We need a system whereby if a club’s application is deemed invalid, it is advised early in the process and given a brief opportunity to rectify it at that stage.

“It is unfair to drag them through the process, not knowing about their applications difficulties until the last day when everyone else’s result is announced.

“In particular, I refer to clubs in Kildare South whose applications were deemed invalid in 2017 – Cill Dara Rugby Football Club, Castle Villa FC Castledermot and Clogherinkoe GAA club and hope that they can be facilitated in the new process, taking into account the difficult process they went through last year.”