The process for qualification to the Paralympic Games is ongoing. To date, 5 athletes have achieved automatic quota places for the Paralympic Games through World Championship performances. Further qualification will be secured through ranking results and slots awarded by the International Paralympic Committee to Ireland. It is anticipated that the final team size will be between 25-30 athletes.
Sport Ireland, which is funded by my Department, is the statutory body with responsibility for the development of sport, including high performance sport and its funding allocations. It provides a range of supports to Paralympics Ireland to support their high performance programmes and athletes. Specifically, in respect of athlete support, the Sport Ireland International Carding Scheme provides financial assistance to athletes for their training and competition programmes. The primary purpose of this funding is to support Irish athletes in reaching finals and achieving medals at European, World, Olympic and Paralympic level. The International Carding Scheme is criteria based requiring athletes to achieve standards set forth by their NGB, in agreement with Sport Ireland.
In 2021, Sport Ireland will provide €620,000 in direct athlete supports to para athletes in a range of sports through the International Carding Scheme.
In addition Sport Ireland (through the Sport Ireland Institute) will also provide other non-financial supports in the following areas:
- Sport Ireland Institute & Paralympics Ireland have extended their Games support partnership to cover the postponed Games. This has confirmed the appointment of five specific Institute practitioners to the Irish Paralympic Team covering S&C, Nutrition, Physiology, Transition support and Performance Analysis.
- Sport Ireland are currently working with Paralympics Ireland to identify and resource a further addition to their medical staff for the Games arising from the extensive COVID-19 protocols in place.
- 301 direct support days to Para sports was provided by the Sport Ireland Institute Team in 2020 representing 13.87% of the total resource.