Sunday 28 February 2010

Locals question transparency of Lansdowne fund

DEVELOPERS involved in the Lansdowne Road stadium have taken issue with local criticism that their community fund is not transparent in terms of financial grants.

The Lansdowne Road Stadium Development Company (LRSDC) provides €100,000 every year for community schemes but as the stadium nears completion, the distribution of funds is causing tension.

Labour councillor Dermot Lacey, a member of the project monitoring committee, said he would raise the concerns at the next meeting and that he assumed the amounts given to groups were made public.

A spokesman for the LRSDC said there were clear reasons for not revealing sums. "A great deal of thought was given to this. In the final analysis it was felt that by revealing amounts of money, it could be divisive in a small community. We felt that it was enough that individual projects were helped and that this was acknowledged."

A well-placed local source, who asked to remain anonymous on the basis of ongoing applications, said: "Groups are complaining that they aren't getting a fair shake of the stick or wondering what other people are getting. It's great for the community but like any funds there should be clarity around the area and who it's allocated to.

"What is happening in reality is that there isn't a wide advertisement of the fund. A lot of people don't know about it. There are a lot of football clubs who don't know about it and later stumble upon it. When they go to distribute the money we don't know who gets how much."

Every application for funding is put before an independent, qualified assessor and reports are compiled. The process "could not be more transparent", says the LRSDC.

Lacey said while criticisms of a lack of awareness were not reflected in the level of interest shown in the fund, it was publicised in local media.

"It has worked well by and large but if there are issues about it we are happy to take them up," he said.

He also defended two decisions made last year that directly benefited the FAI.

One funded the body for "intercultural soccer events"; the other was allocated to Vintage Docklands FC as a "contribution towards FAI coach­ing courses for staff".

Lacey said both were for community benefit.

Sunday Tribune

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