The Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring TD, today announced an investment package of over 7.4 million euro, through the Irish Sports Council, to support the work of the major field sports (the IRFU, FAI and GAA) in developing their games around the country at a grassroots level.
This significant funding will support extensive participation programmes aimed at encouraging and creating more opportunities for young people to participate in field sports.
Announcing the package today, worth €;2.36 million for the IRFU, €;2.7 million for the FAI and €;2.4 million for the GAA, Minister Michael Ring TD said: “The GAA, FAI and IRFU continue their commitment to growing the participation base of their sports.
“This investment ensures the long-term sustainable development of the three sports in Ireland so that they continue to make a major contribution to our communities in sport and contribute to the health and well-being of the nation.
“The Government previously announced a funding package of €;25 million through the Irish Sports Council strategy and these further grants continue to support grassroots participation.”
The breakdown of the funding for the IRFU is €;2,250,843 to support the implementation of the IRFU Development Programme (Youths) and €;114,000 euro to support the Union’s ‘Women in Sport’ Programme.
Notably, 63% of Ireland’s rugby clubs now have a Women’s participation programme and this is increasing annually.
With regards to underage rugby in the country, 14,000 games of age-grade rugby are played at affiliated schools per annum. Since 2010 there has been a 30% increase in girls’ participation in rugby from Under-13 to Under-19 level.
This investment supports the Irish Sports Council’s strategic aim of increasing participation in sports throughout Ireland.
This includes coach development, club support, underage programmes, volunteer support programmes, community schemes, referee development and targeting at-risk communities.
Kieran Mulvey, Chairperson of the Irish Sports Council, explained: “We are pleased to announce this investment today. These programmes are based on a shared ethos of developing the grassroots of the games, growing participation numbers and targeting communities outside of the traditional base of the sport.”
At the announcement in the Aviva Stadium, John Treacy, CEO of the Irish Sports Council, highlighted the importance of the partnership, saying: “The Irish Sports Council are delighted to share a common goal with the GAA, IRFU and FAI to increase participation in sport and physical activity.
“In 2014, with the support of the Irish Sports Council over 700,000 participants from 4,784 clubs will take part in programmes delivered by the FAI, GAA, and IRFU.”
Senior representatives of the three sports – IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne, Páraic Duffy of the GAA and John Delaney from the FAI – made presentations at the launch, detailing the progress made in recent years and their plans for 2014.