The Federation of Irish Sport has called on the Government to provide necessary funding for the sector in the upcoming Budget.

They have highlighted four key asks of Government with the top priority being an increase in core funding for governing bodies and local sports.

The federation is also calling for taxation reform, as well as the raising of the betting levy from 2% to 3%, and accelerating insurance reform.

“I think we all understand that there are unprecedented demands on the Government for this budget and also that there needs to be fiscal prudence around it,” said Swim Ireland CEO and president of the Olympic Council, Sarah Keane, speaking to RTE Sport.

“But I think for us there just seems to be a continued lack of connection between physical activity and sport and what that does for the health of the nation, and how that may be able to help impact positively on our ever growing department of health budget.

“We need people to be physically active and healthy, but for sport to do its job we need to be better funded,” she added.

Keane also highlighted the current National Sports policy, which aims for participation to rise from 43% to 60%, while adding that some of the lower profile sports have struggled since Covid times.

“Some sports have recovered incredibly well from Covid…but in an awful lot of sports, grassroots sport does not have that opportunity, and if we want to increase participation, we have to put more resources into it to the sector to do it,” said Keane.

“It is a very small figure that sport and physical activity gets compared to the wider budget, but the impact could be absolutely phenomenal on the nation.

“There is much more awareness in Irish society now about the fact that we need to be careful with what we eat, try to sleep more, watch our mental health and be physically active, but there is a disconnect between the fact that it costs to provide those opportunities.”

Also speaking at the briefing, Federation of Irish Sport CEO Mary O’Connor said: “It is important that Government do not take sport and physical activity for granted in budget 2024 and continues its commitment to the sector by increasing core funding and recognising the significant role sport and physical activity plays throughout Ireland from grass sports to high performance.”

Enda Lynch, CEO of Badminton Ireland added: “Staff on one-year contracts, without pensions or health insurance etc. is not sustainable – and without the brilliant people currently working in sport, we simply won’t succeed. An increase in core funding that is reflective of NGB’s looking to do the best for their staff is critical.”