Saturday 16 December 2017

Hockey off tourist radar

John Greene

John Greene

We've said it here before, and we'll say it again. Government agencies should work together with a common purpose to make sure that money spent is well spent. And yet they don't. Or won't. Or can't. Which is it?

Take as an example the forthcoming men's Olympic qualifying tournament which will be held in UCD between March 10 and 18.

Six countries -- Ireland, Russia, Korea, Ukraine, Chile and Malaysia -- will battle it out for a place at the Olympics. Across all the sports this is the only qualifying event for the Games being held here.

It is an expensive proposition for the Irish Hockey Association, but there are very obvious gains to be made. It is thought around €120,000 will be spent on accommodation and food by the teams, that around 10,000 spectators will attend and the finals day matches will be screened worldwide.

The Irish Sports Council has come forward with some funding for the IHA but sadly Fáilte Ireland have so far been found wanting despite the fact that this is exactly the kind of sports tourism event they should be all over. Despite handing in a detailed submission in early December, the IHA has reportedly heard nothing back from Fáilte Ireland.

The event will go ahead but the absence of funding impacts on things that could be done around the event to promote Ireland. Sadly, though, it's the same old story. Government rhetoric about joined up thinking and promoting tourism and business on the one hand, and inefficiency and bureaucracy on the other.

jgreene@independent.ie

Sunday Indo Sport

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