Major Funding Boost for Sports to recover, grow and attract people nationwide – Dillon

Fine Gael TD and Spokesperson on Tourism and Sport Alan Dillon has welcomed the announcement of almost €80m for the sport sector under two separate support programmes. Some €73.6m in Covid funding is being allocated under five separate streams to help sports organisations to recover and grow post pandemic, support our grassroots network of clubs and local sports partnerships, and ensure people of all ages and abilities return to sport and physical activity.

A further €5.3m is being provided to sport National Governing Bodies (NGBs) and Local Sports Partnerships (LSPs) for the provision of sports equipment including the roll out of defibrillators for clubs, kits for school children and state of the art equipment for our high-performance athletes.

Additional investment has been provided through the 2021 Sport Ireland budget providing total COVID support of €73.617 million to the sector.

Deputy Dillon said “The timing of the schemes provides stability and certainty to the sports sector as it emerges from the pandemic and plans for 2022. I am delighted to see Mayo Sports Partnership receive €93,400 allocated from the LSP Small Grant Scheme and €29,953 from the LSP Grassroots Sport Support. The recent budget announcement by the Ministers of an increase in the overall sports funding for 2022 has further reinforced that sense of confidence that support is available

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD said: “As a nation so fond of sports, we are very supportive of our clubs, our competitors and of course everyone who enjoys physical activity. But the last two years have been two of the most challenging for all sports organisations and the announcement of this funding will come as a relief for the sports sector. It’s important that the sport sector is on a firm financial footing. The additional funding, coupled with the increase in the budget for sport in 2022, will ensure the long-term viability of our sports organisations, high performance sport and will make sure sport remains accessible to all. These emergency funds will reach all corners of the country, a myriad of activities and ensure clubs and grassroots groups continue their great work.”

 Minister of State for Sport and Gaeltacht Affairs Jack Chambers TD, added: “I welcome today’s allocations announced by Sport Ireland, which recognise the immense contribution that sport and physical activity has made to Ireland’s response to the pandemic. All facets of society continue to adjust as the public health situation evolves and our National Governing Bodies, Local Sports Partnership and sports clubs are to be commended on how they have adapted. Government understands that this has been challenging for all and the funding allocated today will assist the sector as it continues to play an important role in supporting all members of society getting and staying active.”

 Specific investment has also been provided for the disability sport sector in line with the SportForAll initiative with, amongst others, Special Olympics Ireland, the Irish Wheelchair Association and Paralympics Ireland receiving financial support. A number of the approved equipment grants are also specifically targeted at disability sport.

This investment recognises the disproportionate and unanticipated extent of COVID-19 restrictions on their activities and the difficulties associated with a resumption and return to normal levels of activity.

 The COVID funding announced today is in addition to the COVID-19 contingency fund which was directed towards exceptional costs generated by the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, which were postponed for 12 months until this year. This contingency fund ensured National Governing Bodies were supported to address costs incurred that were beyond the scope of Sport Ireland’s High Performance Programme funding and other programme resources. Full details are set out in Appendix I.

In relation to the separate equipment funding, Sport Ireland was requested to identify and prioritise proposals from NGBs and LSPs which would advance the Government’s National Sports Policy with a focus on the areas of participation, inclusion, female involvement in sport and delivery of the Sport Ireland High Performance Strategy 2021-2032.