4 February 2015

Question Time: Culture, Arts and Leisure - Tuesday 03 February 2015


At the Start of Oral Questions to the Culture, Arts and Leisure Minister she was asked, When will the Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure announce which clubs have been successful in obtaining Northern Ireland Football League funding to upgrade their facilities and what discussions has the Minister had with the Minister of Finance and personnel for the release of funding for capital projects for Irish League clubs.

The Minister stated " The Executive endorsed a proposal to provide £36 million for the subregional stadium development for football as a priority area of spend in the next comprehensive spending review (CSR) period. My Department has developed a strategic outline case for the subregional programme and, following the Assembly's approval of the 2015-16 Budget, that programme will now proceed and commence its next stages. No decisions have been taken as yet on which stadia will develop from that funding. Programme-specific details such as eligibility criteria, funding strands, funding limits, funding timelines etc are being finalised. Plans for consultation with key stakeholders are being processed and, once finalised, the subregional programme will be formally launched. I am optimistic that the remaining funding will be approved in due course to allow construction work to start in 2016-17".

Sports Stadia and Public Transport Links, members questioned the Minister on what discussions she had had with the Minister for Regional Development to improve public transport links to Belfast's three upgraded sports stadia. In reply the Ministed said, " I have had no direct discussions with Minister Danny Kennedy with regard to improving public transport links to Belfast's three upgraded sports stadia. However, as part of the planning process for each proposed new stadium, Transport NI was a consultee and has provided comments and support where appropriate, which has been very helpful.

With regard to Windsor Park, I understand that the IFA met the Regional Development Minister on a few occasions regarding the creation of pedestrian links between the Adelaide Halt train station and the stadium. A planning application has also been submitted for those works on behalf of DRD and Translink".

The Minister had to answer questions on how Sport NI and the government body will Development Cycling in the future, Irish Lauguage and Ulster-Scots Strategies and how the Minister will ensure adequate funding for community festivals and, in particular, how she expects to fund the Eadtside Arts Festival.