Hanafin calls for more women in sport
THE new sports minister, Mary Hanafin, wants more women to get involved in sport -- but she isn't promising any more money to encourage them.
The minister told the state agency in charge of sport that female participation would be a top priority during her time at the Department of Tourism, Culture and Sport.
Ms Hanafin met with the board of the Irish Sports Council for the first time yesterday to 'set out her stall'.
She feels that getting more women into sport will also bring in more children and therefore wants to provide support for parents.
The minister's spokesman said: "She (Ms Hanafin) wants to get more women involved in sport. She sees that as a driver for young people getting involved in sport."
The minister is also supportive of an arbitration body to cover all sporting bodies, in order to avoid court cases.
Ahead of the London Olympics, she also expressed her support for the Elite Athlete Programme.
But Ms Hanafin didn't commit any additional funding for sports. She pointed out that in the current economic climate everybody was expected to do more for less.
The Irish Sports Council already has a plan for getting women involved in sports.
But it is keen for sports policy to be linked with other departments, such as health and education, and it sees the minister as being of assistance in this regard.
"The Irish Sports Council would be delighted if someone would champion that side of it," said a spokesman.