Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring TD, today launched The Irish Sports Council, “Irish Sports Monitor Annual Report (ISM) 2013”. This is the fifth report in the ISM series and provides the Irish Sports Council with a means of accurately monitoring and tracking active and social participation in sport among adults in Ireland.

In launching the report Minister Ring said: “The value of participating in sport and physical activity cannot be underestimated; even small improvements in participation levels will confer health, social and economic benefits both for the individual and for society as a whole. This report shows that Government investment in sport has been successful in boosting sporting activity. We know that this will lead in time to healthier communities’.

The two most recent ISM reports noted significant increases in sports participation and this current report shows a continuation of that trend. Participation in sport has risen from 44.8% in 2011 to 47.2%, which is equivalent to almost 1.7 million Irish adults participating in sport regularly.

Key findings include:

  • A higher proportion of females are participating in sport than previously, (increasing by 3.7% to 42.7%) resulting in a narrowing of the gender gap in participation. There has been a notable rise in participation among females aged 25 to 44.
  • Personal exercise is now the most popular sporting activity for both genders.
  • Almost 9 in 10 adults take part in some physical activity on a weekly basis with both men and women equally likely to be active in this regard.
  • Over 45% of those playing sport are meeting the National Physical Activity Guidelines.
  • The proportion who are sedentary continues to decline with a 1.2% decrease in 2013 and a 5.6% decline since 2007.


Speaking at the launch, Kieran Mulvey, Chairperson of the Irish Sports Council said: “The Irish Sports Council has made increasing participation in sport and physical activity a key strategic priority. It is vital that we and our key stakeholders have access to this type of research to underpin our efforts in this regard.”

John Treacy, Chief Executive of the Irish Sports Council acknowledged “The increase in sports participation since the previous study is undoubtedly encouraging and is likely to be a result of a combination of factors, both in terms of sports policy and activities of Local Sports Partnerships as well as a continued focus on physical activity throughout the population”.

Kieran O’ Leary, Research Director at Ipsos MRBI commented “Recreational walking remains the most popular form of activity with 2.3 million a week taking part. This activity appeals to both men and women, across all age groups and to various other demographics”.

The 2013 ISM report is based on the analysis of over nine thousand questionnaires from a representative sample of the Irish public aged 16 and over. Other publications in the research programme on sport and physical activity are available at

Irish Sports Monitor Report 2013