Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin, together with Sport Ireland, has announced a €52 million funding boost for sports under a number of separate support programmes.
As part of Budget 2023, a funding package of €35 million was made available to help alleviate the impact of increased energy costs for sports clubs and organisations with a view to ensuring that everyone can continue to enjoy the benefits of sport and physical activity over the winter months. The Sports Energy Support Scheme (SESS) was launched by Sport Ireland on the 15th of November and, to date, €21 million has been allocated to support sporting organisations with the rising energy costs associated with the provision of sport. The remaining funding will be allocated by Sport Ireland early in the New Year.
Some €15 million in COVID funding is being allocated to help sports organisations to continue their recovery and growth post-pandemic, thereby ensuring that people of all ages and abilities are afforded the opportunity to participate in sport and physical activity and enjoy all of the associated health and wellbeing benefits.
A further €0.8 million is being provided to National Governing Bodies (NGBs) of Sport for the purchase of sports equipment primarily designed to assist in the delivery of Sport Ireland’s High Performance Strategy. An allocation has also been provided to Swim Ireland for the purchase of an additional ‘pop-up’ pool on foot of the success of the first such pool which was funded in 2021.
In addition, additional funding of €1 million is being provided to Sport Ireland to support a number of specific key projects which will further enhance Ireland’s sporting profile, including the hosting of the 2023 Euro Hockey Men’s Championship II, the staging of a podium event by Gymnastics Ireland and Swim Ireland’s hosting of an inaugural U23 European Swim Championship at the National Aquatic Centre. The funding will also support a number of initiatives aimed at improving the profile and visibility of female athletes across all sports, with specific support for women in football and women in rugby programmes.
Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin, said, “the funding allocations being announced today are evidence of the critical role which sport plays across our society. In recognition of this role, it is vital that the sports sector is on a firm financial footing thereby ensuring the long-term viability of our sports organisations and clubs, allowing them to continue the great work they do at all levels throughout the country. I am pleased that we will also be able to support a number of key sporting events in 2023, which will add further to Ireland’s reputation as a host venue for such events.”
“This funding allocations will greatly assist the sport sector as it continues its vital work in supporting all members of society in getting and staying active and reaping all of the associated health benefits. Thankfully, the health restrictions associated with the pandemic are no longer a feature of our daily lives but I and my Government colleagues appreciate the challenges that the sector has had to overcome and I am very pleased that we are able to continue to support our National Governing Bodies, our Local Sports Partnerships and our sports clubs as we all adapt to life post-pandemic. The specific investment to support sporting organisations with the rising energy costs associated with the provision of sport will help ensure that everyone can continue to enjoy the benefits of sport and physical activity over the winter months.”
Sport Ireland Chief Executive Úna May said, “we would like to thank Minister Martin for her ongoing support. The past 12 months have been very challenging for the sector and the increased funding through these specific schemes has been vital. The extra funding has directly helped our National Governing Bodies and Local Sports Partnerships recover after the COVID-19 pandemic and provide stability to them during a time of rising energy costs. This commitment recognises the leading role that sport plays at the heart of Irish life.”
Sport Ireland Chair Kieran Mulvey said, “the additional funding for sporting events is very welcome. It will bring even more international championships to the Sport Ireland Campus. These events will help to enhance Ireland’s profile to an international audience and display the high standard of facilities that are available in the country.”