Minister of State for Sport, Michael Ring T.D., announced on Wednesday an investment package of €19.6m from the Irish Sports Council into the National Governing Bodies of Sport in Ireland. This is almost €1million more than the equivalent figure for 2014. This injection will allow the Sports Council to invest in crucial projects for Rio 2016 as well as exciting participation initiatives and support the participation of Team Ireland at the Special Olympic Summer Games in LA in July.
The investment includes an allocation of €10.85 million to 59 National Governing Bodies (NGBs) to support their core work of administration and participation programmes. This includes increases to support specific initiatives in the IABA, the Confederation of Irish Golf and Hockey Ireland. The Council will allocate €600,000 to support the Women in Sport programme of 23 NGBs with additional support for the highly successful programmes of Swim Ireland and Badminton Ireland.
€8.16m will be invested in 22 Performance Plans which will support Ireland participation at the 2016 Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games. The high performance NGBs also benefit from the direct service provision at the Institute of Sport, the development of high performance facilities at the National Sports Campus, the 2015 International Carding Scheme and the special sports equipment grants; a comprehensive and integrated package of support for Ireland’s top performers.
Speaking at the announcement, Minister Ring commented: “I am delighted to be here today to announce a very significant package of sports investment by the Irish Sports Council. Today’s investment is a substantial commitment from the Irish Government to the National Governing Bodies of Sport in Ireland. The importance of sport cannot be understated. Sport has the unique ability to activate local communities through participation and volunteerism whilst uniting a nation to support our athletes on the world stage”.
The investment is designed to support NGBs develop sustainable and effective structures that facilitate increased numbers of both participants and volunteers. The success of the sustained investment has seen considerable growth in membership across the NGB sector which includes 53,000 in Athletics Ireland, 23,000 in Cycling Ireland and 57,000 in Badminton Ireland.
Speaking at the announcement, Kieran Mulvey, Chairman of the Irish Sports Council said:
“The Council place National Governing Bodies at the centre of our work and are the strategic heart of Irish sport. This is a major input of resources into their operations and ongoing development and we have confidence that there will be a significant return on that investment. I want to acknowledge and recognise the on-going support given to us by Minister Ring and his Department which allows us to continue our mission of increasing participation and enhancing high performance.”
2015 is the 10th Anniversary of the Irish Sports Council’s Women in Sport programme. The programme, which aims to raise the overall physical activity levels among women, has been a key driver in closing the gender gap as women’s participation has grown from 39% (2011) to 42.7% (2013). Today’s investment will continue to support Women in Sport programmes including ‘The Swim for a Mile’ initiative from Swim Ireland which aims to deliver 10,000 participants and Rowing Ireland’s, ‘Get Going, Get Rowing’ programme which aims to get an additional 5,000 women participating in 2015.
Ireland will be proudly represented at many sporting events on the international stage. 2015 will be the crucial qualifying year for many sports for Rio 2016 and there will be vital championships events in athletics, swimming, boxing, hockey, cricket and cycling amongst others. The first European Games will take place in Baku in June and it will be could prove to be a pivotal event for the Olympic sports in Ireland. The Council is delighted to support Team Ireland at the Special Olympics World Game in Los Angeles.
John Treacy, CEO Irish Sports Council said:
“As the 2016 Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games come into view, it is imperative we maintain investment so that we continue to build on the excellent performances of recent years in high performance sport. The resources made available in late 2014 by Minister Ring are invaluable for the sports and have been invested in vital equipment, camps and the all-important competition schedules”.
Today’s investment in High Performance will continue to build on the sustained success of high performance sport in Ireland. The Institute of Sport delivers sports services directly to the Olympic and Paralympic sports and, with athletes accessing services on site, is advanced in the creation of a new support system for high performance sport. The capacity at the Institute will be enhanced with the completion of the bespoke facility which is currently being constructed by the NSCDA on site and which in due for autumn 2015.