Fianna Fail Spokesperson on Transport, Tourism and Sport, Marc MacSharry has welcomed the Government’s announcement of a €70 million fund to support sporting organisations that have been affected by COVID-19.

Commenting Deputy MacSharry said, “COVID-19 has been hugely detrimental to both elite and grassroots-level sport in Ireland. The summer is a hugely important time in the sporting calendar, but sport clubs have been closed in Ireland since March of this year.

“As a result, many have experienced a huge drop in membership fees and revenue from ticket sales and media rights. We know from the Federation of Irish Sports that sports clubs and organisations are under huge pressure financially, with many fearing imminent closure.

“A survey by the Federation of Irish Sports found that whereas clubs have experienced a revenue fall of between 60-100%, on average, clubs are still responsible for an average of 85% of their normal expenditure. It is not difficult to figure out why this presents a huge worry for sporting organisations at every level.

“If COVID-19 has taught us anything it is that our health is our wealth, and sport is a huge part of this both mentally and physically. Access to sport affects everyone in Ireland from elite athletes who need training facilities to the hundreds of thousands of adults and children who participate in and watch sports every year. About 35,000 people are employed in the sporting sector in Ireland and these jobs must be protected.

“I welcome the establishment of this new fund, which will go some way toward protecting sports and help ensure that there are still local pitches, pools, and running tracks for us to return to this summer and next,” he concluded.