The Government has announced details of its €220m ten-year National Sports Policy which aims to increase participation in sport to 50% of the population by 2027.

The policy has seen a doubling in funding with high-level goals of: increased participation, more excellence and improved capacity.

The Minster for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross, and the Minister with responsibility for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin, launched the National Sports Policy 2018–2027 at the St Laurence O’Toole Recreation Centre, Sherriff Street, in Dublin’s north inner city.

The €220m funding is almost double the 2018 figure of €112m. The Government will also seek to deliver greater certainty in funding year-on-year, particularly in respect of Sport Ireland high performance funding.

Key targets of the National Sports Policy 2018–2027 include:

  • Overall participation in sport to rise from 43% to 50% of the population by 2027 (the equivalent of an extra 260,0000 people participating in sport)
  • More targeted high performance funding to deliver more Olympic/Paralympic medals (From the securing of 13 medals in 2016 to a target of 20 in 2028)
  • All funded sports bodies adopting the Governance Code for the Community, Voluntary and Charity (CVC) Sector.

The Ministers expressed their intention to begin implementing the National Sports Policy 2018–2027 without delay.

Recalling the commitments for future funding of Sports Capital Programmes announced earlier this year in the National Development Plan, they indicated their intention to also seek additional funding for Sport Ireland programmes in the 2019 Estimates, to support, amongst other measures:

  • doubling of funding for the Women in Sport programme to €2m
  • creation of a dedicated €1m programme for Disability Sport through the deployment of a Sport Inclusion Disability Officer in all 26 LSPs countrywide
  • €1.5m allocation to high performance programmes in support of Tokyo 2020 preparations

"The publication of this policy is an important milestone for the Irish sporting community and sets out a Vision for Irish Sport in 2027, along with 57 actions to transform our sporting landscape over the next decade," Minister Ross said.

"Increasing participation is the cornerstone of this policy. We want to see every citizen engaging regularly in some form of sport and physical activity, irrespective of their background or their physical capabilities.

"Together with the stakeholders across all levels of sport in this country, we will relentlessly pursue the aims of this policy to elevate Ireland to the top of the table globally for both participation in sport and high performance over the next decade."

"The National Sports Policy 2018-2027 also sees continued support of our high performance athletes to keep on inspiring the generations that follow after them in their particular sport"

Minister Griffin outlined the ambitions of the Government’s National Sports Policy 2018–2027 to significantly improve the sporting landscape in this country: "The benefits of sport and physical activity to our population are clear and sport is a valuable asset to communities across the country.

"The availability of quality sports facilities is key to raising standards and Government investment in recent years at the National Sports Campus and throughout the country is proof of our commitment to sustaining this investment to our sporting infrastructure.

"The National Sports Policy 2018-2027 also sees continued support of our high performance athletes to keep on inspiring the generations that follow after them in their particular sport. I would hope to see a significant increase in our high performance investment over the next decade, to some €30m annually."

Welcoming the policy document Sarah Keane, OCI President said,

The Olympic Council of Ireland welcomed the funding, with OCI President Sarah Keane saying: "This is a very welcome development, one that we hope will send out a clear message about the importance of Sport in Ireland and the men and women who represent our country on a global stage.

"We very much welcome that this Government recognises the value of Irish Olympic sport and the role it plays here and abroad as our talented athletes compete at the highest international levels. We are proud to play our part and to make a difference as part of the Government’s initiative "Global Ireland 2025" announced earlier this year."

Ireland Active added their voice to the chorus, with their CEO Conn McCluskey saying: "We are delighted to see the launch of the National Sports Policy as we believe it has the potential to enable the sports and fitness sector to deliver a more active and healthy population.

"In particular it is welcome to see a doubling of funding being committed to during the lifetime of the policy which will provide much needed financial support for organisations and facilities in delivering the actions contained in the policy."