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Confidence and supply cash will not go towards coaching for schools

Ulster GAA provides 25 coaches, and the Irish FA 28, to work with about 450 schools a year

CASH from the `confidence and supply' deal between the DUP and Conservative Party will not bail out a schools' coaching programme, it has emerged.

The Department of Education received £20 million to meet "funding pressures" but this has already been allocated.

Teachers had appealed to the department to give more money to the popular Curriculum Sports Programme, which is due to end next month.

The scheme involves Gaelic and soccer coaches visiting primary schools, and has been operating for a decade.

Extra money to save it has been found on two separate occasions since the collapse of the executive in January last year. But any further extension is likely now to need ministerial sign off, following a recent high court ruling that cast doubt on major decisions being taken by civil servants.

Ulster GAA provides 25 coaches, and the Irish Football Association (IFA) 28, to work with about 450 schools a year.

The INTO teaching union said some of the £20m given to education through the deal sealed between the Conservatives and DUP to keep the UK government afloat, could save the scheme.

The departmental said, however, that its opening overall budget for 2018/19 already included the £20m out of the confidence and supply money "to meet education funding pressures".

"The £20m is not ring-fenced, but has been used to reduce the level of budget reductions that would have otherwise been required, compared to the level of funding provided to programmes in 2017/18, had this funding not been received," a spokeswoman said.

"The department's budget allocations to all its programmes for 2018/19 have already taken account of the £20m confidence and supply money."

Ulster GAA said it and the IFA, with the support of political representatives, were in discussions with the department in relation to future funding.

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