10 Dec, 12:23
Ireland's John Lacey will referee his first ever RBS 6 Nations match in February, while Alain Rolland is also included in the Elite Panel in what is his last season.
The sports will invest an estimated €25 million from their own resources in the sport development programmes, making a total of €34.5 million injection into sports development in 2010.
The Irish Sports Council began investing in the IRFU, FAI and GAA with the introduction of the Special Budget Measure in 2001 which was introduced with the specific aim of creating more opportunities for young people to participate in field sports.
Over the past decade the three sports bodies have expanded their range of activities through extensive work programmes with communities, clubs, schools, referees and coaches.
At an event at the AVIVA Stadium, Minister Mary Hanafin highlighted the work of the three organisations in bringing sport into communities throughout the country.
Minister Hanafin said: "The scale and reach of the work of the GAA, FAI and IRFU is very impressive. Increasing participation in sport at all levels and ages is a priority of this Government.
"The significant sum of almost €10 million ensures that the programmes being implemented by these NGBs can continue and, in so doing, make a very real difference to the communities where they are implemented, particularly in areas of social disadvantage."
John Treacy, CEO of the Irish Sports Council, said: "The FAI, IRFU and GAA share the goal of increasing the numbers of people participating in sport in Ireland.
"They have the capacity to make a major impact on numbers taking part in sport and they provide significant investment from their own resources to all of these programmes."
With the IRFU, the Council will invest €2.948 million for underage participation and €150,000 for the Women in Sport programme.
These programmes are based on a shared ethos of developing the grass roots of the games, growing participation numbers and embracing communities outside of the traditional base of the sport.
The Council funding supports detailed action plans which are implemented by the team of sports development officers in each sport.
In order to address the strategic imperative of increasing participation, each organisation provides a comprehensive set of programmes that aim to develop the infrastructure of their sport.
As well as a number of initiatives specifically aimed at bringing young people into sport, there are also programmes that develop clubs and build links with communities.
It is also essential to build the expertise of teachers, coaches and officials so that they can provide a quality experience for children and young people who become involved in sport.
Young People -
The IRFU has overseen major increases in underage participation with 61,000 players involved in the Schools & Youth sections of rugby.
1,152 primary schools participated in IRFU programmes in 2009. Tag Blitzes encourage schools to offer rugby to their students.
The IRFU's Community Rugby Development Programme is now in operation across all four provinces with a focus on linking participation initiatives to established clubs in the area.
The IRFU Coach Education & Development Programme develops suitably qualified coaches to improve the overall quality of the domestic game.
The IRFU Director of Referees is assisted by a Referee Development Officer in each province working to educate and develop suitably qualified referees to service the needs of the game in Ireland.
Code of Ethics -
The IRFU is promoting the Code of Ethics in all clubs and providing additional training to cope with the increase numbers in underage participants.