Minister of state for sport Michael Ring has today announced the opening of the 2015 round of the sports capital programme.

The programme allocates €40m of funding to sports infrastructure around the country and applications from clubs can be made online at before 24 April.

Among the facilities funded by the scheme are natural grass sports pitches; tracks and courts (including pitch drainage); floodlighting, artificial sports pitches, tracks, courts and multi-use games areas; security fencing, ball stop netting and goal posts, hurling walls/handball alleys; building or refurbishment of dressing rooms, showers and toilets; building or refurbishment of sports halls and gyms; non-personal sports equipment including lawn mowers and defibrillators - anything set in the ground (such as goal posts) is not considered equipment; and any other capital projects that are clearly sporting in nature and that will increase participation in sport or improve performance.

The minister's statement in full is repeated below:

Speaking today, minister Ring said: ‘When these grants are allocated later this year, this Government will have committed almost €130 million for the development of vital sports infrastructure across the country. 

"This is testament to the Government’s belief in the value and power of sport to strengthen communities and gives people greater opportunities to engage in sport. 

“The provision of an additional €40 million under this new round is key to facilitating participation in sport among local communities. With 90% of grantees telling us that the facilities we have funded helped them increase the numbers involved in sport, the value of the programme can be in no doubt.

“This is the third round of sports capital funding that has been made available under this Government, following years of neglect in this area by the previous administration.

"The programme, which is open from today, will facilitate successful applicants in carrying out essential works on pitches and facilities such as clubhouses and dressing rooms. It will also provide for the purchase of new equipment which will help people to play their chosen sport to the best of their ability, increasing the chances of them reaching their full potential.

"This further reinforces the positive impact that sport has on communities from a physical and a social perspective.

“The record number of applications received under the last two rounds of the programme is testament to its value and the continuing need for improved facilities in every corner of the country.

"I would encourage all those who are interested to ensure that they are registered on the online system before 5pm on Friday, 10 April 2015 (if not already registered) and to get their applications in online at before 5pm on Friday, 24th April 2015.”