I was very pleased to launch on 17th April last Sport Ireland's Anti-Doping Review for 2018, which sets out the testing results for 2018. It is the 19th such review and it provides a full and detailed account of the excellent work undertaken by Sport Ireland in its anti-doping programme.
Under the Sport Ireland Act 2015, Sport Ireland is the statutory body with responsibility for the development of sport in Ireland and a key function of Sport Ireland is to act as the national anti-doping organisation – or NADO in short – for Ireland. As Ireland’s NADO, Sport Ireland and its staff undertake a range of vitally important services in the fight against the use of illegal performance enhancing substances in sport. I am happy to confirm to the Deputy that I have a very favourable view of the work done by Sport Ireland Anti-Doping which provides assurance in the integrity of Irish sport at both national and international levels. I would like to highlight in that context that the anti-doping programme managed by Sport Ireland is highly respected internationally.
In relation to the outcomes for 2018, it is encouraging to note that there was just one anti-doping rule violation recorded. It is in my view particularly important to see rising numbers engaging with Sport Ireland’s anti-doping education programme, which clearly shows that the vast majority of the Irish Sporting Community has absolutely no tolerance for doping in sport and remains proactive and determined to defeat it. The Irish Government is equally determined in that objective.
Sport Ireland has been working very closely with their colleagues internationally to defend the interests of clean athletes and clean sport. The agency and its Chief Executive, John Treacy, have taken a leading role in seeking for a more robust global anti-doping regime, that is fit for purpose and applies the rules without fear or favour. Together with Mr Treacy, I attended the White House Round table Event on doping in sport last November, where we heard compelling testimony from athletes themselves, and their calls for Governments to support their NADOs and athletes in the fight against doping in sport. I would like to assure Sport Ireland of the continued support of both Minister Griffin and me in that regard.