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Dublin: 11°C Tuesday 20 April 2021
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Sport Ireland confirm maternity pay for top Irish athletes

Athletes will be paid for 12 months.

Allysson Felix: Nike ultimately.changed their policy on athletes who decide to have a baby.
Allysson Felix: Nike ultimately.changed their policy on athletes who decide to have a baby.
Image: Yui Mok

SPORT IRELAND HAVE announced a new maternity pay policy for carded athletes, guaranteeing funding for 12 months. 

The federation say the move comes after a consultation process highlighted that Irish athletes need ‘support throughout key points’ of their careers. 

“As one of many athletes whose best performances followed the birth of my daughter, I’m really excited the see the introduction of this policy,” says former Olympic race walker and Sport Ireland board member, Olive Loughnane.

“It is really positive that female sportspeople will be able to make a life choice that is right for them, safe in the knowledge that they will be supported by their NGB and Sport Ireland.”

The issue of maternity pay for elite athletes made headlines this year when Allysson Felix revealed that Nike had offered her a vastly reduced contract after she returned from time off during her pregnancy. 

“Introducing the maternity leave policy sends a strong message that Sport Ireland’s vision for women in sport is one where woman have an equal opportunity to achieve their full potential, while enjoying a lifelong involvement in sport,”  says Lynne Cantwell, chair of the Sport Ireland Women in Sport Steering Group.

“In the past, choosing to have a child during your athletic career has been a stressful decision for many athletes, with fears around funding and support being huge factors.  I firmly believe that female athletes should feel supported in their decision to have a child, both throughout their pregnancy and in their return to sport.

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“The decision by Sport Ireland to guarantee funding for 12 months for pregnant athletes is a very progressive stance and one that the Sport Ireland Women in Sport Steering Group and I welcome wholeheartedly.”

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