Councillor Joe Bonner recently  met with Minister for Tourism, Culture, Art, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media ,Thomas Byrne TD in the Dail to highlight the lack of community and sporting facilities in Meath East.

He outlined the 13.2% increase in population in Meath since the last census. The provision of community facilities has not kept pace with this population increase. The Garden Centre around celbridge.

For example in Ashbourne

• The community centre is at full capacity with over 30 groups unable to avail of the facilities.

• The GAA club is also at capacity.

• Killegland FC soccer club are renting facilities in County Dublin.

• Ashbourne United FC also have difficulty meeting the challenges in providing for an ever-expanding club.

• New schools in the area have little or no greenspace or sports facilities provided.

• There is an obvious under provision of parks and playgrounds in Meath East and while we welcome the recent additions of the playgrounds at Stamullen, Clonee, Dunboyne and Dunshaughlin there is a lot to be done in this area.

This is the situation facing many of the clubs in Ashbourne and East Meath and needs  urgent attention.

The Minister responded saying that that as a TD for the area he was well aware of the problems and shared our concerns.

He drew our attention to funding becoming available in the upcoming Sports Capital Programme and Sports Equipment scheme which will be launched in the coming weeks.

The Minister advised that that the application form would be similar to previous years with the inclusion of some new features –

• The most notably is the requirement that any facility seeking grant approval must be equally available to man and women – and applicants will need to show their access policy.

• A new category for facilities of a municipal nature – they will be able to apply for regional grants where it is genuinely a community facility with a number of sports located on it. This is aimed at facilities that are genuinely multi-sport and not run by one sporting body which allows others to hire the premises.

Councillor Bonner is encouraging clubs and organizations to apply for these grants – ensuring that their applications are in on time and presented in the correct format.

Ideally projects should be “Shovel Ready” and plans in place for the delivery of the project.

Last year a large number of applications were deemed invalid as they were incorrectly presented.

This year the system will be open for applications from 17 July to 8th September with the following changes,

  • Local project maximum grant increased from €150,000 to €200,000
  • Regional project maximum grant increased from €300,000 to €500,000
  • Specific focus on climate action, sustainability and gender equality.

The first step in obtaining a grant is to register on the Department’s online system and the Ministers encouraged any clubs that are not already registered to do so now. Clubs can register at [] . Once registered, all applications must be made on the same website. The system will be open for applications from 17 July to 8th September.

The “Guide to Making an Application” was also published on the Department’s website today and can be found here: The Guide essentially sets out the terms and conditions of the Programme. A review of the 2020 round of the Programme was published in May and all of the main recommendations have been included in the Guide.