The Irish Sports Council will support extensive participation programmes in the three major field sports – rugby, football and Gaelic games – with more than ?9 million investment in 2011.
The sports will invest an estimated €;18 million from their own resources in the sport development programmes, making a total of €;27 million injection into sports development in 2011.
Across the three sporting bodies – the IRFU, FAI and GAA – the investment supports the employment of 500 people in sports development which will touch the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in every community in Ireland.
The Irish Sports Council began investing in the IRFU, FAI and GAA with the introduction of the Special Budget Measure in 2001.
This 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.
The 2011 Irish Sports Council investment in this Youth Field Sport Programme is down 6% on 2010.
Kieran Mulvey, Chairman of Irish Sports Council, said: “The IRFU, FAI and GAA share the Council’s goal of increasing the numbers of people participating in sport in Ireland.
“In addition to the Council’s investment, the three organisations provide significant finances from their own resources to deliver outstanding programmes. These activities are making a positive impact on numbers taking part in sport.”
* With the IRFU, the Council will invest €;2.77 million for underage participation and €;141,000 for the Women in Sport Programme
These programmes are based on a shared ethos of developing the grassroots 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.
Also, the sports 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.
John Treacy, Chief Executive of the Irish Sports Council, commented: “This investment ensures the long term sustainable development of the three sports in Ireland.
“The IRFU, FAI and GAA provide hundreds of thousands of people with opportunities in sport thereby increasing the levels of physical activity and making a major contribution to the health and wellbeing of the country.”