Sinn Féin spokesperson on Tourism and Sport, Sandra McLellan TD has expressed her concern at the recent cut backs to funding for the Sports Council. Spending to the Sports Council will be reduced by 3% on 2013.
Speaking today during the course of Questions to the Minister for Transport Tourism and Sport, the Cork East TD, enquired whether the Minister had taken in to account recent hikes in rates at the major Sports Stadia in Dublin when making this cut.
“Sports plays a huge role in Ireland, socially and in many other respects.”
“For example the cost of detaining 1 young person in Oberstown for a year, is €278,000. On the other hand, when the FAI ran the Late Night Leagues in Dublin, there was a massive 49% reduction in Garda Call outs. This cost a mere 15,000.”
“However, there has been a clear link evidenced all over the world between investment and success in sport.”
“Success isn’t the only positive benefit from investment, but clearly the exploits of Rob Heffernan and Jason Quigley this year are a great lift to the Nation in what is a difficult time.”
“The cut to funding for the sports council is an almighty blow and I believe will set back the excellent work so many of these key bodies are dealing with.”
“Paddy Barnes, our two-time Olympic medallist has criticised the Sports Council for failing to invest in the IABA, with substandard facilities, and having recently failed to send a female team to a world championship due to lack of funding.”
“Now there will be even less funding available, and it will potentially harm the prospects of our high performance programme. What’s more is that we have seen consecutive cuts in this area in recent years, with a 6% cut last year.”
“It should also be borne in mind that this cut to funding comes at the same time that there has been a significant increase in rates levied on the major sports stadia in Dublin. The Aviva Stadium and Croke Park received a rates Bill which was five times larger than last year, with rates for the Aviva going from €437,000 to €2.36 million, and Croke Park from €528,000 to €2.112 million.”
“These increases will amount to €3.5 million between the GAA, the IRFU and the FAI, which is a reduction of over 50% of the funding the organisations received from the Irish Sports Council last year.”
“The Government should have taken this into account when making such a major cut, which comes on top of significant cuts in previous years.”