I propose to take Questions Nos. 258 and 259 together.
A Covid-19 funding package of €85 million was provided last year to support the sport sector. This significant investment benefited all levels of the sport sector, including thousands of grassroots clubs across the country, and provided some certainty for sporting organisations in their planning for 2021.
I fully recognise that the financial and operational challenges associated with Covid-19 will continue well into 2021 and that many clubs will find themselves in financial difficulty again this year. Additional funding of €26 million was allocated for Sport Ireland in Budget 2021 which will ensure that we can continue to support our valued sport sector. This includes funding to provide for supports to the sector to meet the ongoing challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. Decisions in relation to how funding will be allocated and the criteria to be applied will be made by Sport Ireland in due course.
In that regard, Sport Ireland is in ongoing communication with the National Governing Bodies of sport and is assessing the financial needs of the sector for the year ahead. In addition. I am engaging with the National Governing Bodies both bilaterally and through the Covid-19 Sports Monitoring Group, which met as recently as Thursday 28 January, in regard to any supports which may be required in the period ahead.