£10k Foyle Cup funding is ratepayers' money the council does not have: Sinn Féin

The Council's Foyle Cup allocation in 2017.
The Council's Foyle Cup allocation in 2017.

Sinn Féin has defended its decision not support the allocation of an additional £10,000 in funding for this year's Foyle Cup

The Sinn Féin group leader on Derry City & Strabane District Council was speaking after a meeting of the council's Health & Communities committee meeting on Thursday during which its five members said they could not support a Foyle Cup Organising Committee request for an extra £10,000 for the 2018 tournament.

The request for more money to "cover increased travel costs due to more teams attending and an increase in the number of referees required to facilitate fixtures" was ultimately voted through by the committee on Thursday despite Sinn Féin's opposition.

She said: “While we all fully support the Foyle Cup, it would have been wrong to back a proposal that was not properly processed when many other valuable community organisations and events seek funding through the correct procedures."

The committee were advised in a report from the Health and Community directorate Karen McFarland how the council has allocated "an additional £15,000 within the Sports Development budget for internal costs associated with the Foyle Cup within the Rates estimates" since 2015.

Ms. McFarland had further advised that there was "currently no budget for this additional £10,000 and this would need to be identified from other budget underspends" and that "any decision made regarding additional funding could result in other groups and sporting organisations requesting funds from Council".

Colr. Duffy said it was for these reasons the party did not support the committee's decision to approve the funding request.

“Council already provides £50,000 in funding and in kind support to the Foyle Cup and the proposal put before the committee sought an additional £10,000 towards the additional costs of visiting teams. This was funding that council stated they did not have.

“Also, such bids should be made through a competitive process, particularly when many organisations are also seeking limited Council funds.

“We all recognise the hugely positive contribution made by the Foyle Cup and I would urge the organisers to submit funding bids through the correct process so that all organisations can be confident in the transparency and fairness with regards to the allocation of ratepayers funds.

"We did however propose that council work with the organisers of the Foyle Cup to see how they could assist them with finding additional funding."