New sports body to boost clampdown on doping
The clampdown on doping in Irish sport will receive a major boost following the decision to merge two key bodies with responsibility in this area.
Under the new plan, information will also be shared with the Irish Medicines Board, the gardai, and, where necessary, the customs authorities.
The new Sport Ireland Bill will merge the existing functions of the Irish Sports Council and the National Sports Campus Development Authority (NSCDA).
"This Bill brings responsibility for the implementation of Irish sports policy under a single agency, Sport Ireland," said Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring.
It is intended that the new legislation will particularly help focus on the problem of doping in sport, he added.
Mr Ring said it is vital that "all athletes are competing on an equal footing."
The new structure will give legal effect to Ireland's Anti-Doping Programme and other relevant guidelines
Currently, the Irish Sports Council, set up in 1999, plans and co-ordinates the sustainable development of competitive and recreational sport.
Mr Ring said there have been substantial developments in anti-doping measures since it was first set up.
It has responsibility for nine areas, including anti-doping, coaching, local sports partnerships and high performance.
The NSCDA is responsible for the National Aquatic Centre and buildings on campus housing the headquarters of the FAI, the Institute of Sport and the Irish Sport HQ.
It also has responsibility for the operation of Morton Stadium in Santry and the National Horse Sport Arena.