Shane Ross reveals allocation of €1.75 million funding for Irish Women's hockey team and Sport Ireland
"I am committed to ensuring that Team Ireland will have every possible support on the road to Tokyo 2020."
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross along with the Minister of State with Special Responsibility for Tourism and Sport Brendan Griffin have announced the allocation of €1.75million in additional funding for high-performance sport.
The funding –which was originally announced by Minister Ross on the back of the Irish Women's Hockey Team's triumphant return to Dublin following the Women’s Hockey World Cup – was met with gasps and exclamations of joy as funding issues for the team had been rife, with reports emerging that the players had to pay a World Cup levy themselves.
The move was originally criticised as being opportunistic by the Minister, who attracted controversy earlier this year when he claimed he had "nothing to do with" the allocation of funding to a private school in South Dublin which saw the benefit for the redevelopment of hockey pitches under the Government's Sports Capital programme.
It was agreed, on Monday, by the Board of Sport Ireland that the additional funding should be allocated to National Governing Bodies and other sporting bodies to assist athletes’ preparations for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020, as follows:
- Hockey Ireland - €500,000
- Horse Sport Ireland - €175,000
- Olympic Council of Ireland - €175,000
- Paralympics Ireland - €100,000
- Gymnastics Ireland - €75,000
- Swim Ireland - €75,000
- Athletics Ireland - €50,000
- Irish Athletic Boxing Association - €50,000
- Confederation of Golf in Ireland - €40,000
- Cricket Ireland - €40,000
- Cycling Ireland - €40,000
- Irish Sailing Association - €40,000
- Rowing Ireland - €40,000
- Triathlon Ireland - €30,000
- Badminton Ireland - €25,000
- Irish Judo Association - €25,000
- Irish Taekwondo Association - €20,000
Both ministers reiterated that this additional funding allocation is separate to the 2019 funding priorities highlighted at the recent launch of the National Sports Policy 2018-2027, which includes €1.5million in further support for Irish athletes’ preparations for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Also emphasised was the fact that a "significant increase" in funding for Sport Ireland programmes in the 2019 Estimates is still being sought, with a view to achieving the ambitious targets set out in the National Sports Policy.
Finally, both Minister Ross and Minister Griffen indicated their intention to make an additional allocation of €250,000 in capital funding for high-performance equipment.
This funding – which is allocated from savings in the Sports Capital Programme – will be allocated to Rowing Ireland and the Irish Sailing Association’s high-performance programmes.
The Irish Sailing Association will be allocated €160,000 and Rowing Ireland will be allocated €90,000.
In his speech announcing the special funding, Minister Ross mentioned both the Women's Hockey Team and the O'Donovan brothers for their outstanding performances.
“We have seen some truly extraordinary achievements over the past few weeks, with medal success for our Women’s Hockey Team, as well as Irish rowers, sprinters, para-cyclists and gymnasts," Ross said.
"Recognising the success of our sportsmen and women, who do so much to inspire Irish children and young people, I am delighted to announce this additional funding for high-performance programmes across a range of sports.
"I would also like to highlight the consistently excellent performances of the O’Donovan brothers and I am pleased to be able to announce an additional allocation of capital funding to provide our rowers and sailors with the boats and equipment they need to compete at the highest level."