02 Nov All of Irish sport has joined together in a campaign to highlight the importance of continued government funding of Irish sport.
All of Irish sport has joined together in a campaign to highlight the importance of continued government funding of Irish sport
Sport in Ireland spoke with one voice as it delivered its submission to Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Mr Martin Cullen, TD on Wednesday. Joining forces in the campaign are the Federation of Irish Sports, GAA, FAI, IRFU, the GUI, the Olympic Council of Ireland, the Paralympic Council and Special Olympics Ireland. The Federation represents the governing bodies of 65 sports.
Speaking at the briefing Mr Paraic Duffy, Director General of the GAA, stressed that all of the sports bodies were agreed on what was required and that they would be taking their message to the millions of people who both participated and watched Irish sport every week.
Sport, he said, "has a significant role to play in improving public health, contributing to the economy, building communities, driving tourism and establishing pride in Ireland both at home and abroad. Sport also has a remarkable power to make us feel good and that is hugely important in the current difficult times.
"Every day across Ireland, thousands of people are involved in coaching, playing, volunteering and administrating sports. It is part of who we are and has a crucial role to play. We cannot underestimate the huge significance of sport in our lives. One cannot imagine Ireland as a country without sport
"In the GAA alone Government funding has been vital to help put 75,000 primary school children through GAA development programmes in Dublin and to also run development programmes throughout our 2,610 clubs."
Sarah O’Connor, CEO of the Federation of Irish Sports, said that the programme was backed by each and every sports governing body and that those NGBs would be asking their members to lobby their local TDs to help the campaign realise its aims.
She also noted that following the briefing, copies of the submission would be sent to every TD in the country along with a fact sheet outlining the potential impact of funding cuts on sport in their local area.
"We have also sought meetings with the Oireachtas Committee on Sport and it is our intention to request further meetings with the officials in the Department of Finance."
In conclusion she asked the media to back the campaign. "Every day our sports media devote a huge amount of time and space to sport. They realise just how important a part sport plays in all our lives. We would hope that you will help us in our efforts to remind everyone of the significance of sport to Ireland."