On 2 November, I announced details of an €85 million funding package for the Irish sport sector, which has been significantly impacted by the various COVID-19 restrictions imposed since March 2020.
The funding, which is being allocated by Sport Ireland, will address the existential threat to National Governing Bodies and their club networks, allowing sports organisations to offset significant losses incurred in recent months and add a semblance of certainty to planning for 2021. The significant investment will reach all levels of the sport sector with National Governing Bodies, Local Sports Partnerships and thousands of grassroots clubs across Ireland set to benefit.
The funding package includes COVID-19 funding of €70 million, which will provide support for the three main field sports organisations (the FAI, GAA and IRFU), a Resilience Fund to support the National Governing Bodies of Sport, a Sports Club Resilience Fund to support clubs, and a Sports Restart and Renewal Fund.
The funding is being invested through grant schemes with Sport Ireland’s recognised funding partners, including the National Governing Bodies of Sport, Local Sports Partnerships and other funded sporting organisations. Sport Ireland will not provide funding directly to sports clubs, this funding will be accessed through programmes established by each of the National Governing Bodies in receipt of funding. It is expected that the National Governing Bodies will publish details of funding allocated to clubs under these programmes in due course.
A breakdown of the amounts allocated by Sport Ireland under each of the schemes is available on Sport Ireland's website at the following link: https://www.sportireland.ie/news/eu85-million-provides-timely-boost-to-irish-sport-sector
Under the Sports Restart and Renewal Fund, over €1.9 million was allocated to 1,637 clubs throughout the country as part of small grant schemes operated by Local Sports Partnerships. These schemes provide an additional mechanism to support community groups and clubs who may not be affiliated to a national organisation or recognised National Governing Body but provide a vital local service. A breakdown of the amounts allocated by Sport Ireland to the Local Sports Partnerships is available on Sport Ireland's website at the following link: https://www.sportireland.ie/sites/default/files/media/document/2020-11/sport-ireland-covid-19-funding-annoucement-breakdown.pdf
In recent contacts with the sport sector, it has been made clear that the financial and operational challenges associated with COVID-19 will continue into 2021. I am pleased to have secured an additional €26.25 million in the 2021 budget which will ensure that Sport Ireland can continue to support our valued sport sector next year.