Volunteering in sport has never been more important to Ireland


The importance of volunteering in Irish sport has never been more important than in today’s difficult economic times when funding for Irish sport is at its most stretched. The efforts of the 450,000 people who each year volunteer their time is crucial to the well-being of Irish sport according to Sarah O’Connor, the Chief Executive of the Federation of Irish Sport.

“It is in recognition of those efforts that the National Awards to Volunteers in Irish Sport were set up a number of years ago” said Ms O’Connor who was announcing that the deadline for nominations for this year’s awards has been extended to Friday, August 24th, to ensure that these dedicated individuals are recognised for the work they do.

Sport remains the biggest driver of voluntary activity in Ireland and the work of volunteers in sport is vital at every level. Without grassroots helpers, sport simply wouldn’t happen. The Irish athletes currently representing their country arrived at the pinnacle of their sporting careers as a result of the hours of passion, dedication and effort that volunteers afforded them as they developed as players and athletes.

This was highlighted by Irish Olympic swimmer Sycerika McMahon at the launch of the awards in May: “It is impossible to get to the Olympics irrespective of the sport without a huge number of people making sacrifices to get you to that point. This includes friends, family, coaches but also the people at my club and school who invested me at the beginning when I was just another child learning to swim.”

From the nominations received, ten winners will be selected to receive an award at the ceremony in the Aviva Stadium in November. An overall or lifetime award to honour a volunteer, who has consistently given of their time for a sport, a team, or an event over many years, will also be awarded.

This is the fourth edition of the Volunteers in Irish Sport Awards, which is an initiative of the Federation of Irish Sport in conjunction with the Irish Sports Council, the Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport and The Community Foundation of Ireland.

Full details of the scheme and how to nominate can be found on line at www.volunteersinsport.ie. Nominations can be made by clubs, individuals or sporting bodies.