#budget – In a week that saw Sports Council Grants hit in the budget, it is still unlcear as to how this might affect Irish sailing, a sport that benefitted from a range of state support to the tune of €1.2 million in 2012.
Writing in today's Sunday Independent newspaper John Greene reminds that Sports Minister Leo Varadkar has said publicly three times in recent weeks that he wants to see how money is spent by Ireland's sports associations. Greene says it is thought there remains a level of dissatisfaction that some of the national governing bodies for sport remain rooted in old habits and are not providing value for money, a frustration shared by the sports council.
A statement from the Federation of Irish Sports (FIS) on behalf of Sport in Ireland said it was disappointed with the announcement which sees a further 8% reduction in current funding for Irish Sport with funding to the Irish Sports Council believed to be in the region of €40 million for next year – a reduction of approximately €3 million on 2013. This is the funding that enables over 100 Irish Sports organisations to run sports development programmes essential to delivering sporting opportunities to all, provide much needed support to grassroots clubs and volunteers as well as providing assistance to our international athletes.
This is the sixth year in a row for cuts – investment in sport already having fallen by some 25% – and now sees Irish Sport back to 2006 levels of support. This is particularly damaging given that consistent government investment in sport only commenced in a meaningful way in 1999 and broke the €30 million barrier for the first time in 2004.
Sports council grants are an an important funding component for the Irish Sailing Association. In 2013 affiliated clubs and organisations secured €251,719 and the ISA has recently sought further applications despite the 8% funding cut now signalled for 2014.
Government grants for sailing include olympic sailing, grants for hosting events and capital grants for clubs and associations.
In October 2012, Irish sailing got the biggest grant of all sports bodies for 'Mobile Training Fleets'. Minister of State for Tourism & Sport Michael Ring approved a grant of €400,000 for sailing, the biggest of all grants awarded to 22 national sports bodies to buy new equipment and boost participation in sports and improve performance.
The sailing grant which was 15% of the total payout was awarded for "mobile training fleets, transport vans, coach boats, coaching equipment, Olympic sailing equipment and training camp equipment (excluding eyewear)."
The Irish Sailing Association (ISA) says the funds were spent on coaching equipment including coach boats, vehicles and training equipment, Olympic sailing equipment including a fleet of 420's, Laser Radials and a 49er with associated spares for training camps and training camp equipment which includes strength and conditioning apparatus to be used on training camps.
The ISA also funded for four mobile training fleets for use on introductory ISA training programmes. The aim is to provide support for organisations looking to develop junior, schools and introductory adult programmes.