Irish sport receives €65 million boost in Government funding

The Government has announced a further €65 million in additional funding for sport through the latest Covid-19 investment programme.

Sport Ireland has now invited applications from National Governing Bodies of Sport, Local Sports Partnerships and other funded bodies, the €65m to be allocated under five key schemes.

These include a field Sport Fund to support the FAI, the GAA and the IRFU; a resilience fund to support the National Governing Bodies of Sport and other Sport Ireland Funded Bodies; a Sports Club Resilience Fund; a Swimming Pool and Facilities Fund; and a fund to support the Resumption of Sport and Physical Activity.

It is intended this will provide further certainty in planning and stability as the sport sector continues to reopen.

“There are still considerable challenges ahead for sports organisations and clubs in encouraging all members and volunteers to return, as well as attracting new participants,” said John Treacy, chief executive of Sport Ireland, “The financial impact of the pandemic also continues to be a challenge for many, with losses and additional costs putting a strain on finances. That is why this injection of funding at all levels of sport is necessary and welcome.”

With €26.3m already announced to Sport Ireland to support their activity plans, it brings the total funding for 2021 to €91.3m.

The specific funding made available to support the financial losses incurred by the FAI, the GAA and the IRFU is also on top of significant previous funds.

There will also be a small grants scheme where Local Sports Partnerships are encouraged to operate a local scheme for small clubs and community groups similar to the national club scheme. These schemes can in turn support community groups and clubs who may not be affiliated to a national organisation or recognised Governing Body but provide a vital local service. These grants would cover costs associated with COVID 19 and reopening.

Sport Ireland will also ring-fence a proportion of the investment so that it is targeted directly at the disability sport sector.

It follows Tuesday’s announcement of the inclusion of a National Velodrome and Badminton Centre on the Sport Ireland Campus in the National Development Plan announced by the Government.

The objective of the National Velodrome and Badminton Centre project is to contribute to the success of high performance programmes and to increased participation in both track cycling and badminton, with positive impacts for both national pride and social well-being, by providing high quality indoor facilities. The proposed facility on the Sport Ireland Campus will have a capacity of 900 spectators and will be capable of hosting both National and European events.

In addition to the Covid-19 fund, the Government had already allocated an additional €15 million to GAA, Camogie Association and Ladies Gaelic Football Association specifically for the running of the intercounty championships.

Last November, the Government announced an €85 million funding package for the Irish sport sector to deal with the various impacted by the various Covid-19 restrictions imposed since March 2020. Earlier in 2020, the Government announced initial funding of €70 million to protect the national sports system in Ireland.