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Irish sport to benefit from 'unprecedented' €85 million funding package

‘The government recognises the vital contribution that sport has made to public health throughout the Covid-19 pandemic,’ said Minister Catherine Martin.

Sport Ireland chief executive John Treacy (file pic).
Sport Ireland chief executive John Treacy (file pic).
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

A FUNDING PACKAGE of €85 million has been allocated to the Irish sport sector as it continues to face the challenges posed by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The “unprecedented” announcement was made today by Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport & Media, Catherine Martin TD and Minister of State for Sport and Gaeltacht Affairs, Jack Chambers TD.

“While the circumstances are unfortunate, Sport Ireland’s investment in 2020 is the largest ever investment package for sport,” Sport Ireland chairman Kieran Mulvey said.

According to Sport Ireland, the funding “will address the existential threat to National Governing Bodies and their club networks, allowing sports organisations to offset significant losses incurred in recent months and add a semblance of certainty to planning for 2021.”

The statement added: “The significant investment will reach all levels of the sport sector with National Governing Bodies, Local Sports Partnerships and thousands of grassroots clubs across Ireland set to benefit.

“Earlier this year, government announced funding of €70 million to protect the national sports system in Ireland. Over €64 million of funding has been allocated to National Governing Bodies, Local Sports Partnerships and other funded bodies across four key schemes.

“Recognising the continually changing landscape, an Emergency Fund to the value of €5.8 million has been ring-fenced to offset losses incurred by sports organisations during the current Level 5 restrictions and the remaining period of 2020.

“Sport Ireland was in a position to meet the requests of National Governing Bodies for their club networks to the tune of €9.7 million, allowing an additional €5 million to be invested in the GAA, IRFU and FAI club networks.”

On top of the Covid-19 fund, Gaelic Games will benefit from a further €15 million which will specifically aid the running of the inter-county championships by the GAA, Camogie Association and Ladies Gaelic Football Association.

“The government recognises the vital contribution that sport has made to public health throughout the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Minister Martin. “While it is appreciated that this is a difficult time for sports organisations and individuals alike, sport has continued to respond and react to the evolving situation through innovative ways in keeping people engaged and active.

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“The funding allocated by Sport Ireland today will protect the national sporting infrastructure and provide financial stability to the sector in the uncertain months ahead. Earlier this month I announced a significant increase in the budget for sport in 2021, which will provide further resilience to the sport sector as we look to emerge from the current crisis.”

John Treacy, chief executive of Sport Ireland, added: “The initial schemes announced in June were designed to support organisations with Covid-19 related losses in 2020.

“However, having engaged with our funded bodies, we understand that the current Level 5 restrictions present additional challenges. As such, we are ring-fencing finances to address any immediate needs that may arise in the sector in the coming weeks.

“Sport has shown itself to be incredibly resilient throughout the Covid-19 restrictions, having made a critical contribution to Irish life with more people being active than ever before.

“Through exemptions put in place by government, we have been able to follow high performance and professional athletes and teams, which has provided a welcome lift to the nation. We look forward to working with the sector in the challenging weeks and months ahead, and will continue to provide ongoing support.”

Total NGB funding allocations (€)

  • Gaelic Games (GAA, LGFA, Camogie, GAA Handball) – 30,795,000
  • Irish Rugby Football Union – 18,000,000
  • Football Association of Ireland – 13,000,000
  • Golf Ireland/CGI – 2,730,000
  • Cricket Ireland – 1,498,500
  • Gymnastics Ireland – 1,380,000
  • Basketball Ireland – 1,157,500
  • Horse Sport Ireland – 1,040,000
  • Tennis Ireland – 950,000
  • Athletics Ireland – 805,000
  • Swim Ireland – 780,000
  • Irish Sailing – 650,000
  • Irish Athletic Boxing Association – 645,000
  • Cycling Ireland – 533,000
  • Badminton Ireland – 369,000
  • Hockey Ireland – 240,500
  • Triathlon Ireland – 235,500
  • Rowing Ireland – 149,000
  • Irish Martial Arts Commission – 120,000
  • National Community Games – 110,000
  • Archery Ireland – 101,000
  • Student Sport Ireland – 95,000
  • Irish Orienteering Association – 77,000
  • Volleyball Ireland – 71,500
  • Irish Underwater Council – 70,000
  • Fencing Ireland – 59,000
  • Motor Cycling Ireland – 50,000
  • Irish Surfing Association – 50,000
  • Bowling League of Ireland – 50,000
  • Canoeing Ireland – 48,000
  • ONAKAI – 40,000
  • Pitch and Putt Ireland – 39,000
  • Irish Squash – 38,000
  • Racquetball Association of Ireland – 33,000
  • Special Olympics Ireland – 348,000
  • IWA Sport – 194,000
  • Vision Sports Ireland – 97,500
  • Irish Judo Association – 24,000
  • Irish Ice Hockey Association – 20,000
  • Rugby League Ireland – 19,000
  • Bol Chumann na hÉireann – 12,500

Additional information on today’s funding announcement is available here.

About the author:

Paul Dollery

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