Tuesday 23 December 2014

John Greene: Conditions on reprieve

Published 09/12/2012 | 17:00

The planned five per cent cut in sports funding for 2013 did not fully materialise in last week's Budget. Instead, a cut of 2.9 per cent was imposed, which translates as €1.3m, from €44.4 million to €43.1m.

The performance of Ireland's boxers and paralympians in London seems to have been at the heart of the change of mind from the government, which came pretty late in the day.

In a way it can be welcomed as good news, although it still means that sports funding has been cut once again. The Irish Sports Council must now set about the task of allocating funding and determining where exactly the cuts will be applied.

Curiously, they would seem to be getting some political direction in this regard. In the Dáil last week, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar said that he acknowledged "Ireland's summer sporting success by protecting financial support for boxing, paralympians, and some other sports".

On Friday night, at the Irish Paralympic awards in Dublin, the Minister went a step further. "Rising levels of participation in sport suggest that our policies are working and investment in sport is producing a real return," he said. "In our first discussions with the Sports Council about next year's Budget, Minister Ring and I emphasised our view that Paralympics Ireland, boxing, and some of the other national governing bodies for high-participation sports should have their budgets protected, given the results they have achieved."

This is an interesting development as it appears that the funding reprieve has conditions attached, and presumably the sports council will have no option but to comply with the minister's wishes.

One of those in the firing line, however, will be the grants to inter-county footballers and hurlers, which will almost certainly be cut again.

jgreene@independent.ie

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