The Federation attended the inaugural meeting of the All Island Sport and Physical Activity Pedagogy Partnership (AI-SPAPP) in Armagh on the 8&9thNovember which was convened by Dr Fiona Chambers, UCC and Professor Deirdre Brennan, University of Ulster.

L to R: Peter Smyth, research manager Irish Sports Council, Dr. Fiona Chambers, UCC Sean Kelly MEP, Sharon Haughey, Deirdre Brennan and Paul Donnelly (Policy planning & research manager, Sport NI. Photo: John Murphy

The body which was launched by Sean Kelly, MEP, intends to bring together academic researchers, NGBs, athletes, young people, policy makers, practitioners as well as community and business leaders to devise a research strategy that will help encourage lifelong physical activity.At the opening session on Thursday evening each member of the group were asked to pitch, in ten minutes or less, their three research priorities and the Federation identified:


  1. Economic benefit of participation in sport to the health system

(e.g. reduction of health spend)

  1. Educational benefit of participation in sport for children/young adults

(e.g. improved learning/results)

  1. Economic impact of sport to Ireland

(e.g. jobs created, money to exchequer, areas of potential)


Whilst some research has been carried out in Ireland on the economic and social impact of sport, this needs to be updated and it would be useful to have annual research and empirical data to outline the positive impact sport has in Ireland in numerous areas e.g. Health, Education, Tourism. This research would allow the sporting community show to government that sport has real measureable benefits which should be supported on an on-going basis.

The Friday session, at the North South Ministerial Council Buildings in Armagh, broke the group into their areas of expertise and sought to tease out possible terms of reference for the group, to narrow down research objectives and to identify actions for the next meeting in March 2013.

The Seminar finished on Friday afternoon and the delegates headed off to the four corners of the island with much to think of and work to do before the next meeting in the new year.

Mr Seán Kelly, MEP, said initiatives such as AI-SPAPP were important if we wished to maximize our physical, human and intellectual resources for the benefit of the public. “We need to have our brightest minds informing policy, impacting practice and preparing preventive strategies to offset the challenges of a post-modern world that has, perhaps unwittingly, engineered physical inactivity.”

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