Riders dig deep to cover expenses

Riders had to dip into their own pockets after expected funding for the Paralympics did not materialise, according to their chef d’equipe.

The riders only discovered a month before next week’s London showcase that they would not be getting the money, amounting to approximately €30,000.

Ireland Para-Equestrian Team chef d’equipe Dara Kearney was reluctant to discuss the shortfall, saying that while the riders were disappointed, they understood resources were limited.

“We have received €60,000 from the Irish Sports Council for 2012, and we are more than thankful, as it is double what it was last year and we understand they are stretched to their limit,” she said.

“We had an expectation that we would get individual funding for the selected athletes to help with their training and their expenses and it didn’t materialise. We only found out about a month ago.

“It was a disappointment to us, and the riders would have budgeted for it.

“We had to help the riders with some of the expenses for London, which would amount to approximately €7,000 per rider.”

An Irish Sports Council (ISC) spokesman said: “A commitment of €110,000 was agreed by Paralympics Ireland (PI) and Horse Sport Ireland (HSI) to support the para-equestrian team in 2012,” of which €60,000 came from the ISC through PI and the remainder from HSI.

The team consists of Eilish Byrne (Youri), James Dwyer (Orlando), Helen Kearney (Mr Cool), who won a bronze in last year’s para-equestrian European Championships, and Gerry Savage (Blues Tip Top Too).

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