Question Time - Culture, Arts and Leisure Tuesday 27 May 2014

Culture Arts, and Leisure Minister Caral Ni Chuilin replied to questions about the Giro d'Italia cycle race, the Milk Cup soccer tournament and the proposed Seamus Heaney Interpretative Centre.

Paul Girvan, Sydney Anderson and Roy Beggs were all interest to hear what the Minister had to say about  the Giro d’Italia and how she plans to build on its success.

The Minister responded by saying “The 2014 Giro d’Italia Big Start has certainly been a resounding success.  We have once again shown the world how well we can host and enjoy major sporting and cultural events.  The Giro d’Italia is a fantastic event, and the 2014 Big Start has helped to raise the profile of cycling across all our communities here.

DCAL and Sport NI are working closely with the governing body of the sport, Cycling Ireland, to deliver a number of specific actions set out in the NITB-led Giro legacy plan to develop the sport of cycling and increase participation in clubs and in all communities.  These actions include the development and implementation of cycling strategies and the provision of training for leaders and coaches in cycling clubs across the North.  Sport NI is also engaging with schools, through its Active Schools programme, to encourage them to develop linkages with local cycling clubs to increase participation and develop the sport.

The Milk Cup soccer tournament was another interesting topic during question time to the Culture, Arts and Leisure Minister. George Robinson asked the minister “ what assistance her department had given to the Dale Farm Milk Cup 2014”.

The Minister stated that “primary responsibility for the funding of events, including the Milk Cup, lies with DETI in the first instance.  Sport NI, as an arm's-length body of DCAL, has not received a request for funding for the 2014 Milk Cup.  However, in anticipation of my Department receiving a request, a bid has been submitted for the June monitoring round for additional funding for creative and cultural development in the north-west, which will, hopefully, include the Milk Cup and the Foyle Cup. In addition, Sport NI has met the organisers of the Milk Cup event to discuss potential support in future years.  Sport NI is carrying out a post-programme evaluation of the pilot international sports events programme, and a decision on the future direction of the programme will be based on the results of this evaluation.  If the programme re-opens, sports events such as the Milk Cup may be eligible to apply provided they satisfy the criteria.

There was also a 15 minute period of topical questions in which the Minister answered questions on topics such as ‘Belfast Peace Line Project, Bands Funding and Eels at Ballyshannon ESB station.

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