Tuesday, 21 June 2022
Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
238. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the extent to which her Department continues to reach out to those involved in sporting activities with a view to continuation of sporting activities in the future in line with the needs as presented by local communities; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32772/22]
I recognise the importance of sport and physical activity for our society and the need to ensure that opportunities are in place to allow all members of society to participate in sport. Sport Ireland, which is funded by my Department, is the statutory body with responsibility for the development of sport, including the promotion of sports participation.
Sport Ireland provides funding to the network of Local Sports Partnerships (LSPs). In 2021, Sport Ireland invested core funding of €9.5 million in the LSPs. The network of 29 LSPs undertakes a wide range of actions with the aim of increasing sport and physical activity participation levels in their local communities. The design, delivery and evaluation of targeted initiatives by LSPs directly increases the level of sports participation locally, particularly amongst the harder to reach social groups such as people with a disability, people from areas of socio economic disadvantage, ethnic minorities, older adults and women. Through their expertise and local connections with the sports communities, LSPs are able to identify specific needs and deliver effective initiatives accordingly.
My Department’s Sports Capital and Equipment Programme is the primary vehicle for Government support for the development of sports and recreation facilities and the purchase of non-personal sports equipment throughout the country. Over 13,000 projects have now benefited from sports capital funding since 1998, bringing the total allocations in that time to over €1.1 billion. The Programme for Government commits to continuing the SCEP and to prioritising the investment in disadvantaged areas.
An overall package of €150 million in new capital grants under the latest round of the Programme was announced earlier this year. This funding reflects the government’s ongoing support to sport and the unprecedented level of applications received reflects the vital role that sport plays in supporting community and individual wellbeing, a role that came into sharp focus during the pandemic.