The Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Martin Cullen TD., today announced a package of 9.9 million euro to support the work of the major field sports in developing their games around the country. The Irish Sports Council will support extensive participation programmes with 3.07 million euro for the IRFU.
The Irish Sports Council will support extensive participation programmes with 3.07 million euro for the IRFU, 3.29 million euro for the GAA and 3.5 million euro for the FAI.
This is the latest installment in the money allocated by the Council to the GAA, FAI and IRFU since the Special Budget Measure was introduced in 2001.
This measure was introduced with the specific aim of encouraging and creating more opportunities for young people to participate in field sports with a particular emphasis on working in areas of disadvantage.
The investment targets every aspect of the sport that can make a contribution to the strategic aim of increasing participation including coach development, club support, under age programmes, volunteer support programmes, community schemes, referee development and targeting at-risk communities.
These programmes are based on a shared ethos of developing the grass-roots of the games, growing participation numbers and targeting communities outside of the traditional base of the sport.
There is a significant return on the investment as the strengthening the sports organisations generates social, health and cultural benefits.
Senior representatives of the three sports, IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne, Paraic Duffy of the GAA and Packie Bonner of the FAI each made presentations at the launch event detailing the progress made in recent years and their plans for 2009.
Philip Brown, during his presentation, highlighted the good work of the Rugby Development Officers around the country and particularly the efforts being made in Donegal, where four clubs have come together to support the development of the game and a new club is on the cusp of being formed.
At an event in Croke Park, Minister Martin Cullen highlighted the work of the three organisations in bringing sport into communities throughout the country.
Minister Cullen said: “The IRFU, GAA and FAI are committed to growing the participation base of their sports. Supported by Irish Sports Council funding, their programmes deliver quality opportunities in sport for every community in Ireland.
“There is a significant community benefit derived through the growth of these sports.”
John Treacy, the CEO of the Irish Sports Council, said: “The Irish Sports Council shares a common ambition with the three major field sports to increase participation in sport and physical activity, particularly for young people.
“We recognise their capacity and potential for making a major impact on numbers taking part in sport, in all local communities.”
The funding supports detailed action plans in each sport and significant investment by the sports from their own resources.
There are many innovative programmes in each sport as well as the employment of a professional sports development team who support the roll-out of the programmes.
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