Tuesday 20 February 2018

Merger will take time

John Greene

John Greene

The decision to merge the Irish Sports Council and the National Sports Campus Development Authority as part of the government's public service reform plan is a curious one.

In many ways of course it makes a lot of sense to create one 'super' state agency responsible for all aspects of Irish sport -- high performance, participation, research, athlete support, facility development and management, and business strategies, for example -- but given that the two bodies have existed alongside each other up to now, their expertise and experience have developed on very different paths so as to fulfil their very separate statutory obligations.

The timetable for the process isn't very clear at the moment. Legislation to pave the way for the merger could be published in the first half of next year and it should then go ahead at some point in 2013.

There will be a lot of logistical obstacles to overcome in the meantime, and not just in terms of the two very different skillsets. As of now, each body has its own board, its own chairman and its own chief executive as well as support staff and work practices.

Ultimately, however, the more cohesion there is in the delivery of policies and facilities, the better it is for all concerned, especially the athletes and those who try to support them.


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