As the Deputy will be aware, I announced this week the introduction of Ireland's first ever national sports anti-doping programme. The programme is targeted for nation-wide application with effect from 1 January 1999 and will be operated under the aegis of the Irish Sports Council.
The introduction of a national sports anti-doping programme underlines the Government's commitment to creating a sporting environment that fosters the pursuit of excellence and fulfilment in sport by fair and ethical means, and to ratification of the Council of Europe Anti-Doping Convention 1989, which Ireland signed in 1992. I am pleased to state that the programme will reflect both the general principles of the anti-doping advisory committee's report and many of its recommendations. I will be happy to supply the Deputy directly with details of the new programme if he wishes.