Shane Ross issues new statement on sport funding after promise to the Irish hockey team
Minister Ross announced that €1.5 million in funding would be made available during the homecoming for the Irish women’s hockey team on Monday.
Minster for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross has said that he will announce the details of the distribution of €1.5 million in funding for Irish teams preparing for the 2019 World Championships in Doha and the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo as soon as possible, possibly as early as next Monday.
In a statement on Tuesday, Minister Ross said the Department is aware of the need for additional funding for certain sports, including hockey, and that Sport Ireland has been asked to expedite its process to allocate the additional 2018 funding of €1.5m as soon as possible.
Ross added that he expects that the funding will be used for direct athlete support, competition support, Tokyo camps and preparations, High Performance programmes support and equipment.
The statement comes on the back of Ross’ announcement on Monday that funding will be made available, an announcement made during the homecoming for the Irish women’s hockey team, whose exploits in the World Cup captivated the nation before they were defeated by the Netherlands in the World Cup Final on Sunday.
Speaking in an interview broadcast on RTÉ on Monday, Ross said: “People say how is the government going to respond to this extraordinary achievement? Well, let me tell you.”
Because of the achievements of the Irish hockey team, Ross said, “and in particular because of the timing of what you’ve done”, the government had decided to give an extra €1.5 million for preparations for the World Championships and the Olympics and stated that hockey “will enjoy a significant share of that particular funding”.
The move was criticised as being opportunistic in some quarters by Ross, who attracted controversy earlier this year when he publicly congratulated Wesley College, a private school, who had received funding for the redevelopment of hockey pitches under the Government's Sports Capital programme.
The Department clarified that the €1.5 million in funding came from additional funds secured recently following an agreement reached by Shane Ross with the Board of the Irish Aviation Authority for the payment of an extra €12m dividend to the State.
Last week, Ross agreed with the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe TD, that €6 million of the funds will be at the discretion of his department. This money will be spent by the beneficiaries in 2018.