Spending on sport to be increased by 17%

A 17% increase in spending on sport includes two major initiatives: a €1.5m grant towards a “development strategy” for hurling in the weaker counties and e1m to bolster Gaelic games in Dublin.

Sports Minister John O’Donoghue also proposed a capital allocation for sports facilities of €70m, including an increase in the 2005 allocation under the Local Authority Swimming Pool Programme from €15m to €25m. Fourteen swimming pool projects have been completed since 2000 and many more are underway.

Almost €69m has been provided towards the Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund, and the programme extended for a further four years to 2008. By the end of this year, Horse Racing Ireland and Bord na gCon will have received €206.4m and €51.6m, respectively, from the fund.

The minister added that with regard to the Sports Campus at Abbotstown, proposals would come before the Government soon to finance its construction, on a phased basis. Therefore, the estimates provision of €1.25m related to operational funding only on this occasion.

In overall terms, the Budget allocation to the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism increased from €424.4m to €455.7m, an increase of over 7% over 2004. The sports component rose by 17%, however. The budget of the Irish Sports Council will rise by 12%, from €30.7m this year to €34.4m in 2005. The minister has backed an initiative by GAA president Seán Kelly to develop hurling in the weaker counties. Part of the €1.5m grant will be used for the promotion of camogie.

Mr O’Donoghue also announced an extra €750,000 for a programme to attract more women into sport.

Sport spending:

17% increase in spending

€1.5m grant for hurling programme

€1m boost for Dublin GAA.

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