Bernard Brogan Calls on Political Parties to Commit to Making Two Hours’ PE Mandatory in Secondary Schools as Federation of Irish Sport Launches 2015 Annual Review
- One Hour Mandatory PE Urged for Primary Schools
- Key sporting triumphs in a massive sporting year for Ireland highlighted, including 20 per cent increase in medals won by Irish athletes
- Federation calls for establishment of new sports event bidding agency to secure prestigious international sporting events for Ireland
As the final whistle is about to be blown on a year of sporting highs, and ahead of a spring General Election, the Federation of Irish Sport has today called on political parties to commit to a level playing field when it comes to sport in Ireland. The Federation is calling for 2 hours’ PE in secondary schools and 1 hour PE in primary schools to be made mandatory, that tax reliefs be put in place and additional funding be extended to sport to bring it back to 2008 levels by 2021, and that a sports event bidding agency be established as a matter of urgency to bring prestigious international sporting events to Ireland.
The calls came as Bernard Brogan, President Federation of Irish Sport, launched its 2015 Annual Review capturing a year of sporting triumphs and successes for the National Governing Bodies of Sport and Local Sports Partnerships. He was joined at the launch in Dublin by Nora Stapleton, Ireland’s Women’s Rugby Team, Louise Quinn, vice-captain of the Women’s National Football Team, boxer Darren O’Neill and triathlete Susanna Murphy.
Bernard Brogan highlighted some of his 2015 sporting highs and how, as a nation, we need to nurture sport, starting in our schools:
“Sport has brought us many memorable moments this year. There have been fantastic victories for both the men and women’s rugby teams in the Six Nations during 2015. Then there was Shane Long’s stunning goal against World Cup champions Germany followed by ultimate qualification for the Euros in 2016. And, of course, how could I forget Dublin’s outstanding performance in bringing home Sam in the GAA All Ireland Senior Football Championships in September.
“Yet imagine what we could do if we were to build on the fantastic grassroots support for sport in our local communities. We know that only 35 per cent of primary schools and just 10 per cent of our secondary schools are receiving the recommended 60 and 120 minutes of PE respectively each week1. Of course, as adults too, we have a real challenge, with only a third of us getting the recommended 30 minutes’ exercise five days a week2. Sport needs to be supported, nurtured and grown and that is why it is incumbent on Government to step up to the plate and do what it can to ensure participation and that our young people and adults get the sporting chance that they deserve.”
James Galvin, CEO of the Federation of Irish Sport, pointed to some of the very tangible benefits afforded by Irish sport, while also emphasising how sport can give so much more:
“The figures are there for all to see. 40,000 jobs sustained by sport3. €1.9 billion in household spending on sport4. Over €1 billion in tourism spending on sport5. Half a million people volunteering their time to sport6. Plus, it’s estimated that by participating regularly in sport, we are 14 years’ younger in health terms7 – now, who could argue with that?
“The Federation of Irish Sport’s 2015 Annual Review published today highlights the wide and varied contribution that National Governing Bodies of Sport and Local Sports Partnerships have made to Irish sport in 2015. After years of steep declines in funding since 2008, there was a very welcome €3m increase in funding to Sport Ireland in Budget 2016. We now have a golden opportunity for sport to make a real difference to the life of our nation, but only if we grasp it. There have been a number of recent successes in securing international sporting events for Ireland, such as the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 and the IPC World Swimming Championships 2018. Think of what we could do if we were to establish a sports event bidding agency as has been done in Denmark where they now win four out of every five sports bids. We could be real contenders in bringing illustrious international events home to Ireland, such as the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
“A new National Sports Policy is in the early stages of development. This presents a real opportunity for government to put in place a strategy that allows sport to maximise its potential both on and off the pitch. For sport to really deliver in terms of our health, our society and our economy, we can’t sit on the sidelines and yell at the referee. We all have to play our part on the field and make it happen.”
Among the other highlights from the Federation of Irish Sport’s Annual Review 2015 were:
- Graeme McDowell, Padraig Harrington and Shane Lowry won on the US PGA Tour
- Leona Maguire became the World Number One Ranked Amateur Golfer
- Rory McIlroy won the Race to Dubai for the third time
- 5 Irish golfers – Paul Dunne, Jack Hume, Gary Hurley, Gavin Moynihan and Cormac Sharvin – took part in the Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup team which was victorious over the USA
- Joe Ward and Michael Conlan won gold at the European Elite Championships in Bulgaria, with Dean Walsh bringing home bronze
- Mark English won silver in the 800 metres at the European Indoor Championships in Prague
- Arthur Lanigan-O’Keeffe was crowned men’s champion at the Modern Pentathlon European Championships in Bath
- Team Ireland Equestrian Showjumping Team won the Dublin Aga Khan Nations Cup
- The Irish ocHockhhHockey Team beat England to win bronze at the Euro Hockey Championships in London
- €21.3m was the value of the Ireland v England Six Nations match, with 15,000 visitors spending €11.5m, each person spending on average €764 during their trip
- €152m was the value of the Irish sports sponsorship rights fee market
- Over 31,000 supporters came to Croke Park to support the teams taking part in the TG4 LGFA All Ireland Finals, resulting in the largest attendance at a European female sporting event in 2015
- 13 World and 1 European Championship medals were won by Irish Paralympic athletes on the Road to Rio 2016
- Special Olympics Ireland athletes won 26 gold, 28 silver and 28 bronze medals at the 2015 World Games
- 66 medals were won by Irish athletes in 2015 in international competition, a 20 per cent increase on 2014
The Federation of Irish Sport’s 2015 Annual Review can be viewed here: Federation of Irish Sport Annual Review 2015