Sport Ireland launched a new Statement of Strategy last week which will set the tone for the next four years and bring it’s own planning up to the conclusion of the ten-year National Sports Policy which has been a consistent guide since it was first launched in 2018.

The number of adults regularly playing sport in 2021, the latest full year for baseline statistics to be available was 40 percent. The target for this by 2027 has been set at 60 percent.

This is just one of the ambitious targets set, more of which can be seen in our initial report on the launch of the plan.

The vision espoused in the Statement of Strategy is to foster “An active Ireland where everyone can enjoy the lifelong benefits of sport and physical activity.”

Over the course of the next week, we will take a look at a number of key elements within the Statement of Strategy, diving into the 28 High-Level Strategic Objectives across three Core Focus Areas of Sport Development Services; Leadership and Governance; and Social Responsibility.


Structures, Programmes, and Project Development


Building and strengthening the “participation/ recreational sport” element of the sports development framework by supporting, developing and expanding the group of highly effective LSPs/ others to support delivery of quality, depth, and impact of their work.


This is the area where there is a focus on increasing the number of people committed to regular sport and physical activity and also where the use of our outdoor amenities should be encouraged and fostered.

The National Sports Policy calls for a Local Sports Plan to be developed in each area where there is a local Sports Partnership and we are familiar already with a number of these that have been completed or are in process.

They will paint a picture of how individual areas can adapt their own natural strengths to provide for local best practice that drills down further than broader national objectives can.

They will also spark thought and conversation about the need for greater collaboration to deliver better outcomes.


Building and strengthening of the “committed/ organised sport” element of the sports development framework by supporting, developing, and expanding the group of highly effective NGBs/Core Partners focusing on those offering lasting benefits over the life course.


Support for National Governing Bodies to deliver greater numbers in their own area has always been a mainstay of Sport Ireland’s role primarily as an enabler rather than a deliverer of programmes.

Giving those with specialist knowledge the tools to increase their own participation numbers is important though it must be done in a collaborative rather than a competitive manner, through complementary programmes where possible and shared mixed-use facilities.


Ensure that more Irish athletes and teams systematically and fairly achieve world-class results at the highest level of international competition.


Sport Ireland can sometimes be caught between the needs of a high-performance system and that of a mass participation promoter.  This part of the strategic plan references the longer-term vision of the High-Performance Strategy launched in 2021 and running through to the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic cycle.

There are specific medal targets within that and specific supports largely through the work of the Sport Ireland Institute to ensure that there is world-class backup and support for the multitude of high-performance programmes that operate in a multi-sport model.


Development and operation of a Campus that becomes the heartbeat of Irish sport where performance, participation, and recreational sport live side by side providing an inspirational location for the sporting community.


The Sport Ireland Campus Masterplan was launched last year and paints a visionary picture of what the Campus can become.  There is no reason to believe that this will fall short, as what has been achieved step by step over the past decade and more is quite remarkable.

There are shortcomings, not least in the provision of athlete accommodation but that is once again addressed as a key priority alongside the next phase of construction of an indoor velodrome and badminton centre, and also by a national cricket stadium, though that is not explicitly named in this plan.