Other Questions. - Sports Scholarships.

Tuesday, 18 May 1999

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 504 No. 7

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  33.  Mr. Durkan  Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan   asked the Minister for Education and Science  Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin   the number of universities currently offering sports scholarships or equivalent; the number of these scholarships available; the proposals, if any, he has for expanding or extending the number of places available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11779/99]

Mr. Martin: Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  I understand that each of the seven universities offer sports scholarships to third level students who are particularly talented in a sporting area. These scholarships are funded by the universities with assistance from sporting bodies and private sponsorship. In the current academic year there are 184 students in receipt of sports scholarships and bursaries from the universities. These scholarships provide assistance towards expenses incurred by the students while pursuing [1272] their sport, such as travel and accommodation costs for competitions and treatment of sport injuries.

Any question of expanding or extending the number of these sports scholarships is a matter for the individual universities.

The Government supports sportspeople through the international carding scheme introduced by the Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation. This scheme provides both financial and non-financial support, to assist Ireland's high performance players and athletes realise their potential to perform successfully at the highest levels of international sport. Players and athletes who are over 16 years of age are eligible to apply for assistance under the scheme. In 1998 support funding was allocated to more than 150 sportspersons under this scheme, 90 of whom were players and athletes under 23 years of age in the junior and developmental groups. The cost of funding the national governing bodies and the carding scheme in 1998 was in excess of £5 million.

Mr. Naughten: Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  I am disappointed to hear the State is not directly funding some of these scholarships. Would the Government consider a scholarship for ball-hopping which some of his colleagues in the House may be able to take up in some of the universities?

Mr. Martin: Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  It is a worthy proposal because we would have no difficulty in winning it. On a more serious note, it is important to welcome both private and public finance to sports scholarships. If we could have more private fund-raising for sports scholarships that would be a welcome development as well.

Written Answers follow Adjournment Debate.


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