Budget 2017: Allocation for sports down almost 30%

Minister Ross satisfied with allocation and says sports arena last year accounts for difference

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross and Minister of State for  Sport, Patrick O’Donovanat a press conference after the Budget was announced. Photograph: Laura Hutton/Collins Photo Agency

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross and Minister of State for Sport, Patrick O’Donovanat a press conference after the Budget was announced. Photograph: Laura Hutton/Collins Photo Agency

 

The budget allocated to sports and recreation services has been cut by almost 30 per cent.

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross received an additional €72 million in his Department’s annual budget.

However the allocation for sport was reduced by more than €20 million, from €73.5 million in 2016 to €51.91 million for 2017. The funding allocation for tourism has also been reduced from €13.8 million in 2016 to €13.2 million.

Mr Ross said was satisfied with the monies allocated to his Department.

“The only reason sports has gone down is the construction of the sports arena last year. It was a huge €22 million payment.

“I am happy we got a 4 per cent increase in funding for my Department. It is well over the average,” he said.

It is understood that Mr Ross did not consult with the Minister of State for Sport Patrick O’Donovan before agreeing the budget allocation.

The figures also show that there is no money allocated in the expenditure for the inquiry into the Rio Olympics ticket touting controversy which retired judge Mr Justice Carroll Moran has been appointed to lead .

Fianna Fáil spokesman on sport Robert Troy said the cuts in funding were “scandalous”. It was “ hugely disappointing” to see a significant cut in the sports budget,” he said. We need greater support for our athlethes. The opposite seems to be the case.”

“Tourism is a key sector of our economy and increased tourism numbers over the past number of years has played a positive role in supporting job creation,” Mr Troy said.

“At a time of Brexit we need to be increasing expenditure on marketing to attract visitors,” he said.