Government urged to restore sports funding to pre-crash levels

Federation of Irish Sport (FIS) highlights 26% fall-off in State funding for sport since 2008

The federation believes up to €100 million a year could be generated across all sports by extending tax reliefs to current projects.

The federation believes up to €100 million a year could be generated across all sports by extending tax reliefs to current projects.

 

The Federation of Irish Sport (FIS) has called on the Government to restore sports funding to pre-crash levels.

The umbrella group for sporting bodies here said there had been a 26 per cent reduction in funding levels for sport since 2008, from €57.2 million to €42.5 million in 2015.

“If Irish sport is to compete on the international stage, as well as increase participation and retention levels, funding levels must be restored to where they were before the country’s economic collapse,” it said.

As part of its latest manifesto, the organisation published a five-point plan for the next Government, aimed at delivering on Ireland’s sporting potential, which includes a call to extend tax reliefs for sporting bodies.

While donors can take advantage of tax reliefs for capital funding, this amounts to a fraction of the costs incurred by sporting organisations, and the group wants the reliefs to apply to both current and capital spending programmes, noting this was a recommendation of the Commission on Taxation in 2009.

The federation believes up to €100 million a year could be generated across all sports by extending tax reliefs to current projects.

It claims Irish sport is the only not-for-profit sector of the economy not to benefit from a tax relief on current spend, and that funding, particularly for minority sports, was suffering as a result.

FIS is also seeking two hours of sport a week to become mandatory for post-primary students, noting only 10 per cent of school students were meeting these minimum requirements despite the epidemic of obesity.

“With just a little effort on behalf of Government in setting out a vision and strategy for where we want sport to go in this country, linked with the required resources and ongoing monitoring, we could do so much better,” GAA star and FIS president Bernard Brogan said.

At the launch, Mark Balcar, director of the Sports Think Tank in the UK, spoke of the UK’s sports strategy.

“Our research shows overwhelmingly that the sport sector wants strong government leadership and a long-term sports strategy that joins up the many different interests within government,” he said. “This is crucial if the sport sector is to maximise the potential of sport to help deliver in critical areas of public policy, for everyone in society.”

Newly-appointed FIS chief executive James Galvin noted sport in Ireland supported 40,000 jobs and added an extra €1.9 billion in household spending and over €1 billion in tourism receipts.