Ministers and Sport Ireland Outline NGB Funding Priorities for 2023

Ministers and Sport Ireland Outline NGB Funding Priorities for 2023

Confirmation of 2022 National Governing Body Funding

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin TD, Minister of State for Sport and the Gaeltacht Jack Chambers and Sport Ireland today reaffirmed their ongoing commitment in supporting the development and enhancement of National Governing Bodies of Sport (NGBs).

Further to Sport Ireland’s established investment criteria, diversity & inclusion along with improved governance & greater gender balance have been identified as key priorities for 2023.

In addition to the provision of increased Core Funding in 2022, a specific Winter Initiative aimed at increasing sports participation and boosting NGB & Club Membership also features.

These four priorities are reflective of National Policy and seek to support continued NGB recovery & growth post COVID 19.

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin TD welcomed the announcement, saying: “Continued Government investment in sport will be essential in ensuring a full recovery for the sport sector after two difficult years of Covid-19 restrictions and also in ensuring that that our objectives for sport are achieved. The €15 million investment in core funding for NGBs this year reflects Sport Ireland’s recognition of the central role that NGBs play in Irish sport.

“As part of our ongoing investment, it is important that key Government policies relating to diversity and inclusion, gender balance and governance as well as our Covid-19 recovery initiatives are prioritised and I welcome the inclusion of these priority areas in Sport Ireland’s terms and conditions of grant funding for next year.” 

Speaking at today’s announcement, Minister of State for Sport and the Gaeltacht, Jack Chambers TD commented: “With the assistance of significant Government investment in recent years, the sport sector has proven itself to be a resilient and vibrant sector which has delivered many benefits for our society. We have set ambitious objectives for sport in the areas of participation, high performance and governance and sporting organisations are delivering on these objectives.  

“From 2023, Sport Ireland’s grant funding to sporting organisations will be more closely aligned to our key policies for sport with four funding priorities being included as an important element of Sport Ireland’s grant funding criteria. These priorities relate to adoption of the Governance Code of Sport, achievement of 40% gender balance on Boards of NGBs, development of Diversity & Inclusion Plans, and support for the delivery of the Government’s Winter Initiative as part of the sector’s recovery from Covid-19. The inclusion of these funding priorities for 2023 will ensure that the State’s investment in sport is delivering on policy objectives and will, in turn, deliver greater benefits for everyone involved in sport.”


Sport Ireland will continue to place a strong emphasis on ensuring good governance across the sector. In line with the National Sports Policy, the majority of National Governing Bodies have to date fully adopted the Governance Code for Sport. Continued provision of Sport Ireland funding is reliant on ongoing adoption and adherence.

Gender Balance

NGBs are required by the end of 2023 to achieve a minimum of 40% female representation on their Boards. At present, 39 NGBs have 30% or more female representation at Board level with a number of NGBs already reporting a 40/60 gender split on their Board.

Diversity and Inclusion

In May 2022 Sport Ireland launched its first Diversity and Inclusion Policy.  The Sports Action Plan 2021 – 2023 places an important emphasis on diversity and inclusion, and the implementation of this Policy will drive that process forward. Governing Bodies will be expected to work with Sport Ireland in developing suitable diversity and inclusion plans for their organisations.

2022 -2023 Winter Initiative

As part of the post COVID 19 recovery Sport Ireland will seek support from National Governing Bodies in the delivery of an annual Winter Initiative for Sport. The primary focus of the initiative will be to:

  • Further contribute to the public health agenda, post pandemic
  • Provide additional opportunities for the public to engage and re-engage in sport and physical activity in communities across the country
  • Increase the visibility of NGBs and their affiliated Clubs within their local communities
  • Contribute to the ongoing recovery and growth of NGB and Club membership

Chief Executive of Sport Ireland Dr. Una May commented: “Today’s announcement will provide the NGB’s with clarity around the funding priorities and areas of focus for 2023. We have already seen a strong emphasis from the vast majority of NGBs across these areas and Sport Ireland will continue to roll-out supports to assist all of our funded bodies meet these requirements.”

Core Funding 2022

2022 sees an increase in NGB investment with an additional €1,155,000 being invested in the sector bringing the total Core funding levels up to €15m. A further €115,000 and €60,000 were allocated to the Federation of Irish Sport and Student Sport Ireland in support its ongoing work with the sector.

2022 Core Funding was approved by the Board of Sport Ireland in December 2021, with NGBs in receipt of funding since the beginning of 2022.

Field Sport Investment

Additionally Sport Ireland has provided annual investment in the three large field sports – IRFU, GAA & FAI. A total of €2,389,653 has been allocated to the GAA and €2,250,843 to the IRFU. Funding provided by Sport Ireland supports vital coaching, games development and technical development programmes in both the GAA and IRFU.

As per the Memorandum of Understanding agreed between the Government and the Football Association of Ireland, €5.8 million in funding will be made available to the FAI for football development programmes, pending approval by the Board of Sport Ireland.

Clubforce enters UK with Rio Ferdinand partnership

Clubforce enters UK with Rio Ferdinand partnership

Clubforcethe Irish tech business making sport happen, has partnered with the Rio Ferdinand Foundation to drive inclusivity in sport. The Rio Ferdinand Foundation is a youth and community development charity. Clubforce will be teaming up with the charity which works in the heart of the UK’s most disadvantaged communities.

The Rio Ferdinand Foundation was set up in 2012 by Rio Ferdinand OBE, an English former professional footballer, following issues of inequality he experienced in his own life. Since its inception, the Foundation is now working in communities across Ireland and the UK, with regional hubs in Belfast, Manchester, and London. The Foundation supports more than 10,000 youths, helping them to realise their potential.

The Foundation empowers young people to tackle the inequalities they face. They do this by creating opportunities so they can achieve their personal potential and also so they can drive social change on a greater scale. The charity provides support under four strategic themes: safe spaces; health and wellbeing; strong, safe, and inclusive communities; and progression, skills, and employability.

The partnership comes as both organisations’ missions are so similarly aligned. Clubforce strives to encourage health and well-being through sport as well as inclusivity, diversity, and participation for all. Clubforce sees the value in sport as the big leveller where prejudices have always had to take a backseat. Sport can be used as a tool for good in that it brings people joy, impacting their mental and physical wellness positively, and connecting them with a community where they are supported through friendship.

The Rio Ferdinand Foundation sees the potential in sport as a universal platform for inclusivity. The partnership will enable Clubforce and the Rio Ferdinand Foundation to tackle inequality issues faced by young people and encourage everyone on and off the field to participate. In addition to positioning both organisations to achieve their mission, the partnership enables Clubforce to follow through on its plans to expand into the UK.

Rio Ferdinand, Foundation Founder said of the partnership –  “We are delighted to collaborate with a community-focused software company developing technology to promote sports participation and make sport accessible to all. We are on the same journey.”

Noel Murray, CEO, Clubforce – “As we grow in the UK we are delighted to partner with Rio Ferdinand, Gary Stannett and his team, and support the excellent work they are doing on the ground.”

Rachel Kavanagh CMO, Clubforce – “We are full of admiration for the work done by the Rio Ferdinand Foundation, especially for girls. I’m especially excited to hear about programs such as GoGirl, building the confidence of young women and girls to achieve their potential. We’re looking forward to contributing to the efforts made by the Foundation to drive inclusion and sports participation across genders in both geographies.”

Clubforce is the only all-in-one sports club management platform that enables club volunteers to manage all aspects of their club on a single platform. Currently, the tech business is helping more than 2000 clubs to grow and thrive. The business has been operating in Ireland since 2009 and is proceeding with its plans to enter the UK market.

Clubforce has seen massive development over the past year, entering strategic partnerships with numerous sports tech businesses and appointing a new CEO, Noel Murray. Clubforce is excited to enter the UK by partnering with an inspiring foundation that is helping so many youths to tackle the inequality issues they face on a daily basis. The team is thrilled to add to the Rio Ferdinand Foundation’s current impressive efforts and build the bridge to make sport accessible to all.


Sport Ireland launches €2,000,000 ‘Sport for All’ Disability Supports Club Fund as part of this year’s NGB Dormant Accounts Fund

Sport Ireland launches €2,000,000 ‘Sport for All’ Disability Supports Club Fund as part of this year’s NGB Dormant Accounts Fund

Sport Ireland launches €2,000,000 ‘Sport for All’ Disability Supports Club Fund as part of this year’s NGB Dormant Accounts Fund

  • €2m funding available for clubs to support disability specific activities in sports clubs
  • Total funding package of €4m aims to break down barriers to participation
  • Closing date for applications from NGBs is Monday, September 1st, 2022

Sport Ireland has today opened the application process for a €2million ‘Sport for All’ Disability Supports Club Fund.

The Scheme will be open to the affiliated clubs of Sport Ireland recognised National Governing Bodies (NGBs). The fund offers every club affiliated with a Sport Ireland recognised National Governing Body an opportunity to provide inclusive programmes and supports for people with a disability.

The fund will support the initiation or enhancement of disability specific activities within grassroots sports clubs. Clubs will apply directly to their NGB for funding. NGBs will in turn submit a consolidated application on behalf of its club network to Sport Ireland.

Clubs can apply for funding of between €1,000 and €5,000 to support the following areas:

  1. Disability Supports Education & Training
  2. Disability Supports Programme Activation and Delivery
  3. Disability Supports Small Scale Equipment and Infrastructure

Speaking about the Dormant Accounts Funding, Minister of State for Sport and the Gaeltacht, Jack Chambers TD, said: “The NGB Club Fund being launched today responds directly to the commitment made in the Sport Action Plan 2021-2023 that I launched last November. Helping the sports sector, especially the club network, to recover from the damage caused by the pandemic is one of my top priorities alongside the promotion of a “sport-for-all” ethos across the sector. There’s €2million being set aside under this new Fund and it presents a great opportunity for sports clubs everywhere to consider how they might make their sport even more accessible for people in their communities, especially those with a disability. Sport can offer so many benefits to people’s health and wellbeing and we need to make that a reality on the ground for more and more people.”

Funding guidelines will be distributed directly to all eligible Sport Ireland recognised NGBs. The closing date for applications from NGBs to Sport Ireland will be Monday, September 1st, 2022. It is anticipated that an announcement of funding allocations will be made by December 2022. All club enquires in relation to the ‘Sport for All’ Disability Supports Club Fund should be made directly to the relevant Sport Ireland recognised National Governing Body.

The ‘Sport for All’ Disability Supports Club Fund is part of a broader €4 million Dormant Accounts Fund investment programme that aims to support the delivery of the Government’s ‘Sport for All’ initiative along with Sport Ireland’s Diversity & Inclusion, Disability and Women in Sport Policies.

Kieran Mulvey, Chairman of Sport Ireland commented: “Today’s announcement of the investment package for Dormant Accounts Funding will allow for exciting initiatives and projects that will promote sport and physical activity in society. The continuation of this funding will go a long way to having a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of communities across Ireland.”.

Chief Executive of Sport Ireland Dr. Una May added: “The Dormant Account Funding has given NGBs and sports clubs in Ireland the opportunity to get new programmes and initiatives off the ground that may not have been possible without this injection of funding. The investment means more opportunities within sports and clubs become possible, with our NGB’s and their members benefiting in return. I want to thank the government once again for this approved funding which will be of major benefit to the sports sector.”


Hockey Ireland is delighted to announce the appointment of Ronan Murphy as its new Chief Executive Officer, taking up the role on October 17th, 2022.

Hockey Ireland is delighted to announce the appointment of Ronan Murphy as its new Chief Executive Officer, taking up the role on October 17th, 2022.

Murphy joins Hockey Ireland, bringing with him a vast range of experience in sports governance, business leadership and strategic planning with over 20 years as a senior business leader.

From 2017 to 2020, he was the CEO of Horse Sport Ireland (HSI), implementing a complete restructuring of the National Governing Body based on the Department of Agriculture’s Indecon report recommendations within a record 10-month timeframe.

In the sporting arena, the highlight included the historic qualification of all three Irish senior equestrian teams for the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games.

During his tenure, HSI also devised and established robust, transparent and effective Corporate Governance systems and processes and developed sustainable, multi-annual funding models for the Irish Sport Horse Sector.

Most recently, he has been the CEO of the Irish Limousin Cattle Society which is the approved body to look after the interests of its 2,400 members, covering all aspects of marketing, administration and promotion of the breed. He is also a board member of Dressage Ireland and has recently served as Chair of the European Equestrian Federation EU Committee.

Speaking about the new role, Murphy said: “I am excited to take up the role of CEO with Hockey Ireland as the sport looks to continue its recent growth and rise to prominence in Irish sporting life.

“I see many aspects of hockey in Ireland that we can augment and develop, and I look forward to working with the staff, the board, provinces, clubs, members, sponsors and the grassroots of the sport to implement our strategic ambition and to realise the full potential of the sport across all levels from the very earliest participation and development pathways to delivering championship and Olympic success for Team Ireland. ”

His appointment follows a rigorous selection process over the past few months following Jerome Pels’ move from Hockey Ireland to a role with England Boxing. Between now and October, Nick McElwee will continue in the interim role as Hockey Ireland CEO.

Hockey Ireland chair Trevor Watkins said of his appointment:“We are delighted that Ronan Murphy will head up the team in Hockey Ireland to continue to drive and implement our ambitious strategy and take further opportunities for our sport.

“Ronan’s experience and success in sport and business give him the ideal background to continue the drive to grow hockey in the community and continue our success on the international stage.”

Murphy’s brief will see him continue the implementation of the Hockey Ireland Strategy 2021-2024 and the clear vision to ‘Change the Game’.

The Strategy has a clear focus on the importance of the commercial and marketing functions, aimed at securing the future of the sport, developing a financially secure and commercially-focused organisation that maximises public funding, sponsorship and revenue generating opportunities.

Through this, Hockey Ireland will establish itself as a nationally respected sports brand, communicating with professionalism and passion with its stakeholders.

Murphy will take on the role amid a busy year in which the Irish senior women’s squad outdid their pre-tournament ranking at this summer’s World Cup and look forward to European Championship qualifiers and the FIH Nations Cup.

The senior men have a similar schedule with Euro qualifiers in August and the FIH Nations Cup in the winter while an exciting national season is just around the corner with several new clubs continuing their growth with Hockey Ireland support.

The Federation of Irish Sport launches Member Survey

The Federation of Irish Sport launches Member Survey

We are delighted present our members with our 2022 Member Survey which has been created in partnership with the research team at Sport and Recreation Alliance UK. The member survey is intended to be taken by all 110 members of the Federation of Irish Sport.
Usually, we conduct a member consultation every 2 years. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the survey was not undertaken last time. This means it is 4 years since a survey of this type has been given to our members. Surveys such as this one are fundamental to membership organisations like ourselves. They ensure we have a comprehensive understanding of who our members are (their profile), the main priorities across the membership, the level of satisfaction with the services provided in return for membership, and what members want from FIS moving forward.
Further, one of the key challenges we face is understanding how Covid-19 has impacted us as a sector, and we can do to support the recovery from the pandemic. Part of this understanding involves developing and evidence base with which to demonstrate the impact. As such, several of the questions will ask members to report on the change in their ‘position’ from before the pandemic to today.
To reflect the above the survey is broken down into 3 principle sections:
– About your organisation
– Satisfaction with the Federation of Irish Sport
– Future priorities
We would like to thank our members in advance for their time in contributing to this valuable consultation. The results of this survey will be used to shape FIS’ activities over the next 2-4 years and provide valuable evidence bases on which to build our asks of government.
Sport Ireland Publish Irish Sports Monitor Report for 2021

Sport Ireland Publish Irish Sports Monitor Report for 2021

Covid-19 Pandemic Saw Significant Fluctuations in Physical Activity Levels
  • Participation rate among adults at 40% in 2021 – 6% decline since 2019
  • Club membership remained broadly stable over the course of the pandemic
  • Activities such as cycling, weights and running see higher levels of participation
  • 54% of adults use technology to measure physical activity, almost twice as many as in 2017 when last measured
  • 9 in 10 believe Irish Olympic athletes ‘set a positive example for others to follow’

The period of Covid-19 restrictions resulted in significant fluctuations in physical activity among the Irish public. While record levels of activity were measured at one point in 2020, according to Sport Ireland’s latest Irish Sports Monitor published today, the level of inactivity had returned to the pre-pandemic level by the end of 2021.

The Irish Sports Monitor (ISM) has measured adult participation in sport and physical activity since 2007. The latest report, produced in conjunction with Ipsos MRBI, presents findings based on interviews with over 8,500 adults aged 16 and over conducted between January and December 2021.

Participation in sport has declined during the 2021 ISM wave, with 40% of the population playing sport regularly – a 6 point decline since 2019.

Minister of State for Sport the Gaeltacht Jack Chambers TD said: “This latest sports monitor further underlines the role sport and physical activity played in all of our lives over the course of the pandemic. Our National Governing Bodies and Local Sports Partnerships worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to ensure that members and the wider public were engaged and motivated despite the many challenges that existed. The fact that club memberships have remained stable over this period indicates the incredible role played by the volunteers, coaches, players and parents in local clubs all over the country who are the heartbeat of grassroots sport in our communities. I am pleased the Government was able to help the entire sports sector in this period with unprecedented levels of funding supports.  I note also nearly one in four people took part in online exercise classes during the Covid-19 pandemic. Such innovation is emblematic of the resilience of  the overall sports landscape.

“Of particular importance to me is ensuring that sport and physical activity is welcoming and accessible to all. In that regard it is heartening to see that a majority of club members agree that ‘Everyone knows they are welcome’ in their club. However the moderate level of support for inclusion measures shows that there is still work to be done in this area. Together with Sport Ireland, we will continue to introduce and implement ‘SportForAll’ measures to ensure the sport is truly open and accessible to people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities.”

The proportion of Irish adults classified as ‘Highly Active’ (considered to be meeting the National Physical Activity Guidelines) has increased significantly since 2019, from 34% to 41%. Similarly, the proportion that is sedentary (did not participate in any activity during the past 7 days) is broadly unchanged over the same time period, (2021: 11%; 2019: 12%).

Chief Executive of Sport Ireland Dr Una May commented: “Throughout 2021 we saw a significant change in the nature of sports participation. This is primarily attributable to the negative impact of the pandemic restrictions. While indoor and team-based activities were negatively impacted, activities such as cycling, weights and running saw higher levels of participation. The challenge for all of those in the sport system now is ensure that new participants are encouraged and supported to stay, while those whose participation may have lapsed are enticed back.”

“Sport has always been a force for unity in Ireland and this is reflected in so many people seeing the Olympic and Paralympic Games as a source of increased national pride and togetherness. Nearly 9 in 10 people agreed that Irish athletes ‘set a positive example for others to follow’, while two-thirds believed the Games brought the country together. We are proud of our athletes and the example that they set. While the research found that the motivating force of the Olympics on adult participation is not particularly strong, three quarters of those surveyed people believe that the Olympics inspires children to participate in Sport.

A change in the nature of sports participation can be seen, with indoor and team-based activities negatively impacted by the pandemic restrictions and activities such as cycling, weights and running seeing higher levels of participation. These changes impacted people differently. For example, the gender gap in sports participation has widened to the same level measured in 2017, possibly due to restrictions related to indoor activities as well as swimming and gym-based activity which tend to have higher levels of female participation. However, the gender gap is still at a much lower level than at the start of the ISM series.

The socio-economic gradients in sport has widened during the pandemic, with those in employment, of higher socio-economic status and with higher levels of education significantly more likely to be involved in sport and physical activity. Those from higher socio-economic groups have benefited disproportionately from working from home arrangements, possibly providing them with more leisure time in which to be active during the pandemic than those from lower socio-economic groups.

Director of Research and Innovation at Sport Ireland, Benny Cullen, said “This wave of the Irish Sports Monitor allowed Sport Ireland to keep track of the unprecedented changes in sport and physical activity behaviours triggered by the COVID 19 pandemic. The research allowed Sport Ireland to make informed policy and investment responses to support the Irish sports sector throughout the pandemic and to inform the sector of the challenges and opportunities in the return to Sport when social restrictions were lifted. The growth in social gradients in sport during the pandemic do present a challenge to sport. However, despite the reduction in sports participation, especially in the first quarter of 2021 when restrictions were at their peak, it is encouraging to see the sports participation figures moving in the right direction in the second, third and fourth quarter of the year. We are keeping a close eye on how these trends progress into 2022.”

The 2021 Irish Sports Monitor Summary Report is available here.

The 2021 Irish Sports Monitor Full Report is available here.

Irish Sports Monitor Summary Report and Annual Report 2021