Sport was celebrating on a number of fronts after yesterday’s Government Budget for 2019 was announced in Dáil Eireann.
While we will have to wait for the full detail at a special briefing in Government Buildings this afternoon, the early indications are that there will be a just over 13 per cent rise in funding from €111 million in 2018 to €126 million in 2019.
Some of this has already been revealed, including €40 million towards Sports Capital Projects, the application window for which is open for another ten days.
According to estimates published as part of the budget process, there will be an 11.4 per cent increase in core funding for sport, paid through Sport Ireland, from €57.9 million to €64.5 million.
The general reaction from across the sports sector was positive.
“Budget 2019 certainly seems like it is a positive one for sport,” said Mary O’Connor, CEO of the Federation of Irish Sport.
“While we look forward to hearing the detail regarding the breakdown of the increased investment across people and programmes and capital projects, our initial reaction and that of our members is positive.”
“The publication of Ireland’s National Sports Policy in July this year was a significant first step in recognition of the important contribution sport can and should make to Ireland. It is great to see Government begin to commit the necessary funds to allow for the implementation of that plan in the first budget following the publication of that landmark Policy for Irish sport.”
Read more about the funding of Horse and Greyhound racing in 2019.
Another important element in the budget was the retention of the nine per cent VAT rate for sporting facilities. While the Department will be disappointed that arguments for retaining the reduced rate across the tourism and hospitality sector were not agreed to, maintaining the rate in sport is another winner.
“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,” said the representative organisation’s CEO Conn McCluskey last night.
“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.”
Sport for Business will be attending the Ministerial media briefing on the detail of the budget and will have detailed analysis and additional commentary on Thursday morning.