Mr Robin Swann, the North Antrim Ulster Unionist Party Assemblyman and member of the Stormont Culture, Arts and Leisure Committee, has challenged the Finance Minister to ensure that sports grounds in the constituency because of a multi-million pound shortfall in stadia funding.
Assemblyman Swann, who is North Antrim UUP Chairman and Party Sports Spokesman, issued his challenge after it emerged there would be a potential loss of £12.5 million of funds originally allocated for the project to improve sports stadia.
Mr Swann, the UUP Chief Whip, said: “The £138 million which has been allocated to improve sports stadia within the three main sports of football, rugby and gaelic, is vital as we seek to develop both grassroots and elite sporting participation.
“This funding was the subject of much negotiation and debate and the Ulster Unionist Party welcomed the provision following the missed opportunity that was the failure to proceed with the shared sports stadium at the Maze site.
“However, I am now concerned that this funding is diminishing considerably in light of the recent June monitoring round.
“We are now in a situation where the substantial sum of £12.5 million of capital investment was surrendered by DCAL due to a reduced requirement arising from slippage within the stadia project.
“I have questioned Departmental officials on this apparent slippage on a number of occasions previously and they had seemed content that any reduced requirement is re-profiled to other projects and transferred back in year four of the budget.
“However, in this particular scenario there is no guarantee from the Finance Minister that the money will be re-allocated at a later stage and this creates capital pressures in future years.
“I note that the development of sports stadia is a commitment contained within the draft Programme for Government and I want to ensure that this money is used for the purpose which it was originally intended given the benefit it will have to individuals and communities.
“The DCAL Committee has written to officials to seek clarification and I call on the Minister to explain the failings behind the surrender of this vital funding.
“I also want guarantees that stadia and sports facilities in my native North Antrim constituency will not suffer as a result of any funding shortfall,” said Assemblyman Swann.
SEARCH THIS SITE
Contact Your MLA