Funding for sport has risen by €19 million in Budget 2014 including a new round of Sports Capital Programme funding, Minister of State for Tourism & Sport Michael Ring has confirmed.
Sport funding comprises four components: the Irish Sports Council, Sports Capital Programme, National Sports Campus and Local Authority Swimming Pools Programme.
“I want to set the record straight and make it clear that funding for sport increased by €18.9 million in Budget 2014, from €74.6 million to €93.5 million. This is the first increase since the economic crash of 2008," revealed Mr Ring
He went on: “This 25% increase in sports funding means we can press ahead with a new round of the Sports Capital Programme, just one year after we advertised the last Programme.
"This is great news for sports clubs across Ireland and will also allow broader regional facilities to be developed, which will increase participation in sport. The specific amount of funding for this new round of the Sports Capital Programme will be announced later this year.
“It also means that work can start on the new National Indoor Sports Arena, the missing piece of sporting infrastructure in the National Sports Campus. This arena is the centrepiece of the Campus and has long been sought by all the sporting bodies.
“The new Sports Capital Programme will allow community sports clubs across Ireland to apply for essential works like new changing rooms, pitches, lighting and other projects for the second time since this Government took office. It also means that clubs which missed out under the last round can make another application, and provide new jobs in their local communities.
“Unfortunately the unprecedented demand for cuts in current spending means we have had to cut back in day-to-day spending across the Department, including in Sport. Minister Varadkar and I are determined to mitigate the impact of this measure, but will need to see the Irish Sports Council’s expenditure plans before this can be done.
"Given the very limited resources available, we need to be satisfied that any funding which is reallocated from other uses will deliver a very substantial additional benefit for sport.
“All of this funding for Sport comes against the background of the ongoing economic challenges. I believe it demonstrates the Government’s commitment to sport and its understanding of the value of sport to the economy and to the nation’s health.”