The newly elected Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross TD, took to the stage on Thursday, 26th May to address Ireland’s National Governing Bodies of Sport (NGBs) and Local Sports Partnerships (LSPs) for the first time since taking the office.

Speaking at the Federation of Irish Sport (FIS) Annual Conference 2016 in the spectacular Hogan Mezzanine Suite at Dublin’s Croke Park, Minister Ross welcomed the opportunity to meet with NGBs, LSPs and other sports stakeholders and to work closely with them during his tenure as Minister for Sport.  The Minister outlined that his priority for sport over the coming months is the development of a 10-year National Sports Policy Framework.

Minister Ross said:  “I will shortly be publishing a detailed Public Consultation document and inviting the sports sector, stakeholders in the public and private sector and the general public to respond to questions under a wide range of topics about the future of Irish sport.

“I recognise the importance of sport in the daily lives of Irish people and the benefits that investment in sport has economically, socially and on the health of the general population. It is imperative that we continue to recognise the crucial role that sport plays in Ireland. I look forward to hearing the opinions, views and ideas that stakeholders will have about the future shape of Irish Sport Policy.”

The FIS Annual Conference – the only of its kind in Ireland – brought together NGBs and LSPs, along with leaders in government and business, to share ideas, learn from experts, meet industry exhibitors and engage in lively, sports-related debate.

The theme of this year’s event was ‘Building Leadership Capabilities in Sport’, and the Keynote Address was delivered by John Steele, Executive Director of Sport at Loughborough University, Founder and Owner of Unforgiving Minute and Chairman of the English Institute of Sport.

Steele’s previous experience in sport includes a career as a professional rugby player, Head Coach of the Northampton Saints’ Heineken Cup-winning team of 2000, Chief Executive of the Rugby Football Union and Chief Executive of UK Sport.

Also speaking on the day was the President of the Olympic Council of Ireland Pat Hickey, Dublin Senior Football Manager Jim Gavin, Director of the Irish Institute of Sport Gary Keegan, CEO of Swim Ireland Sarah Keane and Director of Human Resources at the Irish Defence Forces Training Camp Lt. Col. Mark Prendergast.

A total of 160 sports people and stakeholders, government officials and business delegates packed the conference room, including Olympians Ronnie Delaney, Joe Ward, Darren O’Neill and David Oliver Joyce.

James Galvin, CEO of the Federation of Irish Sport, said: “The Federation of Irish Sport’s Annual Conference has undoubtedly become our flagship event, giving our member organisations a unique opportunity to engage with each other, along with leaders from both government and business. We want to ensure that girls and boys; women and men, regardless of ethnic and socio-economic background or age, have a reasonable expectation of access to sport and physical activity at whatever level they choose.  Because we believe Sport Matters – it matters for health and well-being; it matters because it helps young people perform better in school and it matters because it brings our communities together. We also want to create talent pipelines to enable young people who possess exceptional talent and potential in a particular sport to represent this country on the greatest sporting stages.

“Sport also matters for public policy. We know investment in sport produces positive outcomes relating to the economy, health, education, as well as other positive social outcomes. To get there we need leadership, teamwork, commitment and action.”