Donegal Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill has highlighted the need for the Government to continue to invest in Sport during a debate in the Seanad this week.
Senator Ó Domhnaill said: “The State has spent over €1.3 billion on Sport since 1997 with 50% of this allocated under the Sports Capital Programme to more than 7,400 Sports projects. In addition almost €150 million has been allocated under the Local Authority Swimming Pool Programme, and I’m particularly pleased that some €3.8 million was allocated recently to the Finn Valley Swimming Pool Project under this scheme.
“The health benefits of Sport and physical activity cannot be underestimated. I believe the Government must take this into account when deliberating on Sports Investment.
“I am calling on the Government to reopen the Sports Capital Programme on a targeted basis, as it is currently closed to new applications. The Government should use the information of the National Facilities Audit conducted by Local Sports Partnerships to provide a policy direction on the targeted funding of new applications.
“The recently published Indecon report entitled Assessment of Economic Impact of Sport in Ireland set out a number of key indicators including:
- On a total state investment in 2008 of €618.3 million, the Exchequer received €922.7 million in taxes generated by the sports sector.
- For every €100 investment by the Government, it received €149 in sports related taxes.
- More than 38,000 people are employed in the sports sector, 2% of the total national workforce.
- This professional workforce complements the contribution of the 270,000 volunteers whose contribution in economic terms is between €322 and €582 million annually.
- Irish households spent a total €1,886 million on sport and sport related goods in 2008, equivalent to 2% of the overall value of consumer spending in the Irish economy.
- Sport related spending contributes €1,830 million to the Irish economy value-added, equivalent to 1.4% of economy wide-GDP.(Taken from the Indecon Report entitled Assessment of Economic Impact of Sport in Ireland submitted to the Irish Sports Council November 2010)
“It is obvious that State investment in sport makes very sound economic sense and I am appealing to the Government to bear this in mind in the lead up to the Budget 2012.”