Michael Ring, Minister of State for Tourism & Sport has published the Heads of the Sport Ireland Bill following approval by the Government today.
The purpose of the Bill is to provide for the establishment of a new statutory sports body, Sport Ireland, which will merge the two existing sports bodies – the Irish Sports Council and the National Sports Campus Development Authority. The merger of the Irish Sports Council and the National Sports Campus Development Authority is part of the Government’s programme for the rationalisation of State agencies.
“The Council and the Authority have both served Irish sport well since they were established. However, I believe that a new single streamlined organisation is the best approach for the further development of sport in Ireland, bringing responsibility for the implementation of Irish sports policy under one agency. Sport Ireland will continue the work currently being done by the Council in promoting, developing and co-ordinating sport in Ireland and also the work of the Authority in developing the National Sports Campus at Blanchardstown,” Minister Ring said.
Sport Ireland will take on the relevant functions of the Council and the Authority. The functions are set out in Head 8.
There have been substantial developments in anti-doping initiatives since the Irish Sports Council was established in 1999 and the Bill will include enhanced provisions which will assist Sport Ireland in their fight against doping in sport.
Oireachtas members from across the political spectrum will have an opportunity to shape the Bill as the Minister has submitted the Heads of the Bill to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications for their consideration. The Bill will be drafted by the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel and the Minister expects to introduce the Bill in the Oireachtas later in the year.
The Minister had intended that the Sport Ireland Bill would address the regulation of adventure centres by giving Sport Ireland responsibility for establishing and maintaining a register of all adventure centres in the State. However, some issues have arisen which require further consideration and the Minister has decided to address the matter separately from the Sport Ireland Bill. An adventure activities working group established by the Irish Sports Council is examining the issues associated with the regulation of adventure centres and the Minister will make separate proposals on the matter when the group has completed its work.