Wednesday 23 October 2019

Public meeting seeks funding for sport

Balbriggan Beat

A well attended public meeting to explore new thinking on the funding of sports took place in the Bracken Court Hotel, recently.

The public meeting hosted by Social Democrats Local election candidate Garrett Mullan involved representatives of different sports discussing ideas on how the situation could be improved to benefit all sports and all communities.

The speakers included Secretary of Balbriggan Athletics club David Flynn, Chair of Balbriggan Vikings Basketball club Paula Mc Kenzie and Director of Competitions at the Football Association of Ireland Fran Gavin.

Mr Mullan explained the idea behind the meeting, saying: 'When Sports Capital Funding is benefiting private schools in South Dublin and betting taxes are ring-fenced for horse and greyhound racing. we figured it is time for new thinking. Could money raised through Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) benefit community sporting activity?'

The meeting discussed different ideas which would help improve sports provision in communities.

David Flynn (Balbriggan Athletics) recognised that a full size athletics track in every community would be a tall order as each track would cost €400,000, but a 100m track with a bend can be built for €50,000. This would allow clubs to thrive across the country and to apply the discipline of the sport to be applied at all level from casual road running and park running to short distant sprinting.

Paula Mc Kenzie of Balbriggan Vikings explained that the club now has over 200 members but without assets it cannot benefit to any level from Sports Capital Funding. At the same time, they are paying €1,200 a month in renting halls from schools and council owned community centres.

Garrett Mullan added: 'There is great potential to serve communities better through supporting local authority sports offices to partner with local clubs. Tonight we have discussed a range of policies that could make a real impact and benefit all communities and all sports. The social return on investment in sport is seen on a multiple levels, in terms of improving health, contributing to community cohesion, and crime prevention.'

Fingal Independent