Funding of almost €27m was announced by Sport Ireland yesterday, with hockey, modern pentathlon, Community Games, gymnastics, and golf among the big winners.
The announcement took place in Westport, hometown of sports minister Michael Ring — a case of “the mountain coming to Muhammad”, as Sport Ireland chairman Kieran Mulvey put it.
Though he had suffered a dog bite while canvassing the previous evening, Ring was in ebullient form as he announced what Sport Ireland chief executive John Treacy hailed as “a huge investment in sport”.
Over €10m is being invested in high-performance programmes ahead of the Rio Olympics, including €1.82m for athletes under the International Card Scheme.
Hockey Ireland’s high-performance funding jumps over €100,000 to €530,000, with the equivalent Pentathlon Ireland figure now €230,000, an increase of almost €90,000.
Funding for the Gymnastics Ireland high-performance programme has doubled from €40,000 to €80,000.
Mulvey said Rio de Janeiro presents “challenges”, both geographically and with regard to “health concerns”, a reference to the zika virus currently sweeping Latin America.
“We will give every assistance... to ensure the appropriate medical and other facilities are available, both for Olympians and Paralympians,” Mulvey assured those assembled in Westport’s Plaza Hotel.
Sport Ireland’s budget is up by €3m compared to last year, while €200,000 goes to Team Ireland Golf, a figure which will include grants to individual golfers and support for a Challenge Tour event in Ireland.
A total of €4m has also been promised through the Dormant Accounts Fund, which Ring says will be set aside for “sporting programmes in disadvantaged communities”.
The amount being given to 59 national governing bodies totals €10.86m, a figure virtually identical to that of 2015.
National Community Games have secured an increase of over €30,000 in their funding following what Mulvey called a “special request”, bringing the overall figure to €284,000.
There are more modest increases for the Ladies Gaelic Football Association, Camogie Association, and Triathlon Ireland, while the Irish Waterski & Wakeboard Federation will receive €20,000, virtually double what it got in 2015.
A total of €600,000 will be allocated to 26 national governing bodies through the Women in Sport programme, where there are substantial increases for Cricket Ireland, the Irish Sailing Association, Cycling Ireland, Irish Squash, Tennis Ireland, and GAA Handball Ireland.
Just over €5m has been set aside for local sports partnerships, where the largest amount goes to Limerick (€312,340). Tipperary, Dublin City, Sligo, Galway, Waterford, and Mayo all receive over €200,000.
Ring called for multinationals to “try and put a bit more money into sport”, and insisted that funding for the Sport Capital Programme was now done on a “pro rata” basis.
“It will never go back to the bad old days again of ‘wherever the minister is, that county will get more than anybody else’,” he said. “Every single county will get their fair share of the cake.”
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