I propose to take Questions Nos. 62 and 655 to 657, inclusive, together.
These questions relate to employment and economic benefit from the sports sector. Sport makes a significant contribution to the economy and is an important driver of growth and employment. The sports sector's contribution to the economy includes sports tourism, ticket sales, subscriptions and the cost of playing sport, together with the purchase of sports equipment and an economic value of time given by volunteers. The report Assessment of Economic Impact of Sport in Ireland, which was prepared for the Irish Sports Council in 2010, indicates that sport and sport-related activities support more than 38,000 full-time-equivalent jobs.
Grants provided by my Department for capital projects support employment. For example, my officials have calculated that the €13.5 million in the sports capital subhead in 2013 will support almost 600 jobs in the construction and related sectors in 2013. Furthermore, the Deputy will appreciate that as a large proportion of the sports capital programme, SCP, spending is directed at grantees in rural areas where alternative employment opportunities may not be readily available, the importance of SCP spending for rural employment is particularly significant.
The ongoing development of facilities at the National Sports Campus is also supporting construction jobs and will provide jobs in the future for the operation of the campus facilities when completed. In addition, grant funding provided through the Irish Sports Council for the national governing bodies of sport supports a large number of jobs throughout the country.
There is a very extensive financial dividend to be obtained through the success of major sporting events, particularly those with an international dimension. Not only does sports tourism bring revenue and boost the economy, it helps support jobs. The programme for Government includes a commitment that event tourism will be prioritised in order to continue to bring major events to Ireland.