Lottery funding hits low as ministers are accused of showing favouritism
COUNTY WICKLOW has received one of the lowest amounts of Lottery funding in the country, as the Government have been accused of allowing ministers to favour their own constituencies when allocating funds.
From 2003 to 2008 County Wicklow has only received €9,284,960 for a population of 126,194, working out at a mere €73.57 per capita. Only Carlow (€68.04) and Kildare (€71.80) received less.
The grants are meant to be allocated by the Department of Arts, Tourism and Sport to GAA and soccer clubs, athletic clubs, rowing teams and other sporting organisations based on merit.
However, a glance at the figures over a six-year period show that the acting minister has often shown a clear preference to clubs in his own constituency.
For instance, out of the total of €405 million allocated, €20.67 million has gone to clubs in County Kerry. That works out at €147.88 per person living there. It just so happens that John O’Donoghue was Minister for Arts, Tourism and Sports in that period and also happens to be a Kerry man.
Deputy Billy Timmins says it’s quite clear that the Government aren’t being evenhanded when deciding how the funding should be fairly allocated.
‘It’s regrettable that County Wicklow didn’t get a fair share of the lotto grants. Some projects have benefitted in this time but it’s clear that that the allocation isn’t happening on an impartial level.
‘One has to really wonder about this Government’s record of allocating funds over the past decade or so. Regarding the lotto grants, is funding dependent on needs and merits as it should be, or because certain clubs or organisations happen to reside in the relevant minister’s constituency?’
The home constituency of the Minister for Finance has also traditionally done very well funding wise.
In Brian Cowen’s constituency of Offaly €136.760 per person was spend over the same six-year period, the second highest level in the country.