Extra €15m for projects outlined in new National Sports Policy
Retention of 9% VAT rate for sporting facilities and increased investment welcomed
Conn McCluskey, chief executive, Active Ireland: ‘We believe it would be wrong to increase tax on physical activity given the need to get more people active in the country”
Irish sporting bodies have welcomed the increased allocation for sport in Budget 2019, an additional €15 million to go towards various projects and initiatives already outlined in the new National Sports Policy 2018-2027 published in July.
It will represent an increase from the overall 2018 allocation of €111 million, to €126 million for 2019, or just over 13 per cent, in line with the National Sports Policy, the headline of which was the promise to double investment in sport over the next decade, beginning with Budget 2019.
According to the estimates, this begins with the 11.4 per cent increase in current core sport funding, up from €57.9 million to €64.5 million, with Sports Capital funding up 15.1 per cent, from €53.4 million to €61.5 million.
Mary O’Connor, chief executive officer of the Federation of Irish Sport, said: “Our initial reaction would be a very positive and welcome as part of the National Sports Policy.”
The Federation of Irish Sport represents 74 national governing bodies (NGBs) and the 26 local sports partnerships (LSPs), including over 12,000 sports clubs nationwide.
“There is an increase we have to welcome that, as most sporting bodies have been operating at a bottomed-out level since 2008, there hasn’t been an increase since then, and for the first year of the National Sports Policy that has to be a good start.
“That policy is something we’ll be working towards achieving, and the budget was paramount in trying to achieve that. And this is the start of the Government commitment on that promise.”
The National Sports Policy also came with the promise for a trebling of annual high-performance investment support over the next decade from the current figure of around €10 million to €30 million, plus a commitment to run the Sports Capital Programme on an annual basis, some €40 million already set aside for the 2018 allocations. Ireland Active also welcomed the retention of a 9 per cent VAT rate for the sporting facilities and the increased investment in sport.
Conn McCluskey, chief executive, said: “Ireland Active very much welcomes the retention of the 9 per cent VAT rate for sporting facilities as we believe it would be wrong to increase tax on physical activity given the need to get more people active in the country.
“It is also positive to see an increase in the sports budget for 2019 by €15 million, which we hope will go towards programmes, people and facilities that ensure a more active sporting nation.”