Budget 2019 was a winner for sport with a 13 per cent overall rise in allocation spread equally across current and capital spending.
There were wins for National Governing Bodies, for local sports partnerships, for high-performance programmes, for major projects and the fitness industry.
Here are some of the reactions from those on the front line of providing sporting services and facilities across the country.
Sport Ireland Chairman Kieran Mulvey
“The outcome of today’s announcement is a positive one for Irish sport. On behalf of Sport Ireland, I would like to thank the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross, the Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin, and their department officials their work in advocating the need for increased and sustained investment in sport in Ireland. The National Sports Policy published by the Government sets out ambitious objectives across the board; the allocations in today’s budget demonstrates clear evidence of the Government’s commitment to the plan and to sport as a whole.”
“The Government has responded very positively to case made by Sport Ithe reland and the Irish sporting community with a broad commitment to sport and physical activity in Budget 2019.”
“In particular, we welcome this increase in current funding which will allow us to continue to support our National Governing Bodies and Local Sports Partnerships. Their valuable work in providing opportunities for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to get involved in sport cannot be underestimated and this funding will allow us to help those organisations increase their capacity and output to ensure more people are provided opportunities to engage in sport at a level of their choosing.”
“The additional funding for sport will support the delivery of the new National Sports Policy, which was published earlier this year.”
“The continued development of the Sport Ireland National Sport Campus is a top priority for the organisation. The funding of €16 million announced today for the completion of Phase Two of the National Indoor Arena is welcome. With the Minister having already committed to the commencement of the new National Velodrome and Badminton Centre by 2020, the Campus is augmenting its position as the home of sport here in Ireland.”
Sport Ireland Chief Executive, John Treacy
“The Ministers have shown their financial commitment to the implementation of the new National Sports Policy. The additional funding that they have secured for sport will enable Sport Ireland to push out our various initiative from participation to high performance and continue to develop the infrastructure on the Sport Ireland National Sport Campus.”
“The additional funding announced in today’s budget is also positive news for the Irish High Performance System, as Ireland’s top athletes continue their qualification process and preparations for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
“The new policy earmarks the need for additional investment in high performance sport if we are to realise our potential in the international arena. The funding confirmed today, coupled with the high performance funding injection received earlier this year, will be an important component in preparing our athletes for Tokyo 2020 and other key international events.”
“The second phase of the Sport Ireland National Indoor Arena is continuing at an accelerated pace and is expected to be completed in the early part of 2019. This development, which will contain indoor training pitches and ancillary facilities, will become a key part of Ireland’s sporting infrastructure, along with the National Velodrome and Badminton Centre. Planning for the Velodrome and Badminton Centre will get underway in 2019, which construction commencing in 2020.”
Olympic Federation of Ireland President, Sarah Keane
“There is a clear correlation between funding for High Performance Sport and success on the international stage so this additional current funding provided for Sport Ireland is very welcome. The National Sports Policy launched earlier this year provides a solid framework for future success.”
“Today’s announcement demonstrates that the Government is committed to make good on its policy commitments by implementing the first of the increases required over the next ten years. Ireland’s Olympic athletes work incredibly hard to succeed internationally and deserve our support so that they can fulfil their potential.”
“The results achieved by our Olympic Sports this summer, and the continuing good performances of our young athletes at the Youth Olympic Games, demonstrate that we can start to deliver consistently with the correct funding and structures in place. This funding announcement is vitally important to address the lost ground caused by the crash of 2008 and to narrow the gap against the support provided in many of the nations which we compete against internationally.”
“The strong partnerships that now exist between the Olympic Federation of Ireland, Sport Ireland, the NGBs, the athletes and the Sport Ireland Institute means that the system is well set up to capitalise on this investment in the years to come.”
“I want to thank Minister Shane Ross and Minister Brendan Griffin for their work through this budget to deliver on the policy’s funding commitments and Minister Paschal Donohoe and An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar for their support.
“We look forward to working closely with Government, the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, and Sport Ireland on implementation, and to the many benefits that this investment will deliver.”
Federation of Irish Sport CEO, Mary O’Connor
“This is a good day for Irish Sport. The Federation and our members have for a long time been advocating for a significant increase in funding to Sport Ireland. It is these monies that translate into the investment in people and programmes from grassroots to high performance that ultimately allow sport positively impact on people’s lives and ultimately on public health, tourism, community and even the economy.”
“An additional €6.5 million represents real confidence in our ability as a sector to deliver on a wide range of Government policy objectives as outlined in the National Sports Policy published in July. We look forward to working with Government and our members to ensure that we deliver and maximise the potential of the much needed additional investment. We also welcome the significant investment in capital programmes that will enable the development and improvement of facilities at local, regional and national level. ”
Ireland Active CEO, Conn McCluskey
“Ireland Active very much welcomes the retention of the 9% VAT rate for sporting facilities as we believe it would be wrong to increase tax on physical activity given the need to get more people active in the country.”
“It is also positive to see an increase in the sports budget for 2019 by €15m which we hope will go towards programmes, people and facilities that ensure a more active sporting nation. The National Sports Policy launched earlier this year provides a blueprint for government and stakeholders in sport to deliver on the potential of Irish sport and we believe these positive tax and investment measures can give Ireland a sporting chance.”