Rowing among sports to receive millions of euro in pandemic recovery funds

Sports Ireland has assessed which clubs need assistance

Despite a surge in interest following the success of the Olympic team, Irish rowing clubs saw a decline in volunteers as a result of Covid-19, undermining their ability to bring on a new generation.

Rowing Ireland chief executive Michelle Carpenter does not believe the damage will be lasting, however, and on Monday the sport was among many to receive millions of euro in recovery funding.

An initial pot of about €65 million announced in October grew to more than €73 million following an updated assessment by Sport Ireland of what clubs need to see out the pandemic.

Ms Carpenter noticed the reduction in older volunteers this year, particularly when her own children took to the water.


“I think you will find that happened in sport all around the country,” she said. “Clubs are suffering. We took our coaching programme online to try and upskill new members. People are less likely to volunteer; it’s definitely had an effect on rowing and sport in general.”

Monday’s allocation included €5.3 million for equipment. Rowing Ireland will acquire new boats and machines, some of which will go to the next Olympic team.

The funding pool is broad, with five allocation categories covering loss of income from ticket sales, sponsorship and membership fees, and are designed to kickstart grassroots and other more senior organisations.


Capital funding going to the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) and Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) is expected to be spent on club defibrillators, a move that follows the collapse of Danish footballer Christian Ericksen at Euro 2020.

Money is also being allocated in recognition of additional costs arising from social distancing and other Covid-19 protocols, and a separate stream is dedicated to swimming pools.

"While organised sport has returned in a meaningful way in recent months, the impact of the restriction of the last two years is still being felt across the sector," said Sport Ireland chief executive John Treacy.

The largest tranches of Covid-response funding have gone to the GAA (€20 million), the FAI (€19 million) and the IRFU (€18 million). However, beneficiaries include everyone from Irish Wheelchair Association Sport to paralympians, and from cricket to volleyball, archery, weightlifting and tug-of-war.

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times