Paralympic cyclists on a roll towards Beijing

WHILE delighted with the exposure given to paralympic sport (‘Irish paralympic cycling cash crisis’, Irish Examiners, January 24), the Paralympic Council of Ireland (PCI) would like to clarify a number of inaccuracies relating to funding granted to paralympic cycling in 2007.

The funding for the Irish paralympic team to compete at both the Sydney and Athens games was provided by the Irish Sports Council in full.

Preparations are ongoing for the Beijing games for which the funding already has been substantially increased from the Athens cycle to cover many aspects of the preparation programme including a familiarisation trip to Beijing by 75 squad members next August (including eight cycling team members).

The figure of €15,000 given for paralympic cycling from the Department of Sport/Irish Sports Council was incorrect. While the cycling programme (as is the case in other sports) is not fully funded, the following grants have been allocated to the 2007 programme.

* Grant from Cycling Ireland, €20,000

* Grant from Paralympic Council of Ireland, €15,000

* Elite equipment grant from Department of Arts, Sport & Tourism, €14,950.

From Irish Sports Council resources:

* Direct grants to individual cyclists (including Cathal Miller), €36,000 approx.

* PCI cycling camp in China, €24,000 approx.

* PCI multisport camps in Limerick, €5,000.

* Team manager honorarium and coaching costs, €6,500.

This results in an approximate total grant to cycling of €121,450 for this year.

As in all sports, the paralympic cycling team could greatly benefit from the added revenue a major sponsor would bring, and the PCI applauds them for their efforts.

It must be understood, however, that the success of the Irish paralympic team to date arises from the efforts of many athletes, coaches, volunteers, sports administrators and, of course, our major backers — the Department of Arts, Sport & Tourism and the Irish Sports Council.

The PCI is extremely grateful for the support it has received and commitments already made by the Irish Sports Council for the Beijing Games 2008.

John Fulham

Communications Officer

Paralympic Council of Ireland

Joyce Way

Parkwest Business Park

Clondalkin

Dublin 12

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