Minister of State for Tourism & Sport, Michael Ring TD, has today published the Sport Ireland Bill 2014 following approval by the Government.
The purpose of the Bill is to provide for the establishment of a new statutory sports body, Sport Ireland, which merges the two existing sports bodies - the Irish Sports Council and the National Sports Campus Development Authority.
The merger of the two bodies is part of the Government's programme for the rationalisation of State agencies.
Minister Michael Ring TD said: "This Bill brings responsibility for the implementation of Irish sports policy under a single agency, Sport Ireland. The new agency will take over responsibility for the relevant functions currently performed by the Council and the Authority.
"Sport Ireland will continue the work currently being done by the Council in promoting, developing and co-ordinating sport in Ireland and also the work of the Authority in developing the National Sports Campus at Blanchardstown. I hope to have the Bill enacted during the next Dáil term and to establish Sport Ireland as early as possible."
The Sport Ireland Bill combines the main provisions of the Irish Sports Council Act, 1999 and the National Sports Campus Development Authority Act 2006.
It also includes new provisions relating to doping in sport, which ensure the statutory underpinning of the national Anti-Doping Programme and the Irish Anti-Doping Rules.
Minister Ring added: "Anti-doping is a key area of work in sport aimed at ensuring that all athletes are competing on an equal footing. The Bill includes new provisions which will help Sport Ireland in its work in combating doping in sport, and in continuing the work done by the Irish Sports Council in this area.
"The Bill provides a statutory basis for Ireland's Anti-Doping Programme and the Irish Anti-Doping Rules. It also provides for sharing of information between Sport Ireland and relevant organisations, including the Irish Medicines Board, the Gardaí and Customs, which is an essential element in the fight against doping in sport."
They needed a 27-point winning margin against Scotland. They got that and more. The Ireland Women's team captured their second Women's RBS 6 Nations title in style at Broadwood Stadium - relive their Championship winning day in our exclusive video.
It was nail-biting, nerve shredding and epic! Relive Ireland's RBS 6 Nations Championship day from the squad's arrival at Murrayfield to the trophy presentation in our exclusive tunnel and pitch cam video.
Larissa Muldoon, now a two-time Women's RBS 6 Nations winner, is part of an all-Donegal half-back pairing for the Ireland Women. She spoke to Irish Rugby TV about the developing clubs in her own county.
Ireland Women's lock Orla Fitzsimons describes how she was a supporter in the stands for the 2013 Grand Slam success, and now, two years on, she has a Women's RBS 6 Nations winners' medal around her neck.
Niamh Briggs had a day to remember as she captained the Ireland Women's team to RBS 6 Nations title glory. The Waterford star, who scored the first try in the 73-3 win over Scotland, spoke to Irish Rugby TV afterwards.
Paying tribute to the Ireland supporters at Murrayfield, RBS 6 Nations winner Luke Fitzgerald said: "Thanks a million to the fans from the all guys. They were fantastic. We really felt their support out there, they were the '16th man' and helped us get over the line."
Sean O'Brien scored two tries and produced a man-of-the-match performance as Ireland beat Scotland 40-10 to finish top of the table and retain the RBS 6 Nations title. He spoke to Irish Rugby TV afterwards.
Speaking to Irish Rugby TV after the trophy presentation, RBS 6 Nations winner Robbie Henshaw said: "Words can't describe it...just the whole atmosphere, everyone in the stadium, just the way it ended out. It was pretty intense, the heart was rushing."
Enjoying the post-match celebrations at Murrayfield, RBS 6 Nations winner Rory Best said: "It's been a bit of an emotional roller-coaster, the last hour. The crowd have been absolutely incredible. We're just delighted to give something back to them."