Brendan Smith welcomes Sports Action Plan 2021-2023

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan and Monaghan, Brendan Smith has welcomed the publication of a Sports Action Plan for the period up to 2023.

Deputy Brendan Smith commented: “This plan underlines a commitment and determination to tackling persistent participation gaps concerning gender, the disadvantaged and those with disabilities and reaffirms Fianna Fáil in Government’s commitment to the implementation of the goals set out in the National Sports Policy 2018-2027. 

“Through effective promotion and extra resources from dedicated funds, we can deliver the health and wellbeing benefits of sport and physical activity to more people of every age group, young and old alike. It is never too late for somebody to take up a sport or physical activity that suits their particular needs. It is a priority for Fianna Fáil in Government to enable women to take more leadership positions in sport and a target of having 40% representation on the boards of National Governing Bodies by the end of 2023 reflects this prioritisation.”

The Cavan and Monaghan TD added:  “Sport and physical activity should be a lifelong pursuit. Building high levels of physical literacy at a young age is vitally important if we are to succeed in helping young people to take the lead and get involved in a sport and physical activity that best suits them. We know that too many young people are dropping out of sport during their adolescence, particularly young girls, and we need to stop and reverse that worrying trend.

“A major, Youth Forum is going to be held early in the New Year. Empowering today’s youth in Ireland to reap the full benefits from sports and physical activity as they progress through the various stages of their lives can bring huge benefits.”

The plan outlines over 40 specific initiatives intended to ensure the sports sector’s continued recovery from the impact of COVID-19, its development over the next three years and the actions required to achieve the target of 60pc of the population participating in sport and physical activity.

Developed following extensive collaboration with the sports sector and other stakeholders over the last two years, the plan’s headline aims are:

·       Implementing a “Sport for All” approach across all parts of the sports sector to tackle barriers to participation and establishing an Inclusion, Diversity and Equality Fund and a Disability Sport fund.

·       The development of a new annual Winter Initiative campaign, starting in 2021, to encourage recovery of membership and participation in sports clubs and enhance the sports sector’s recovery from COVID19.

·       The implementation of Sport Ireland’s High Performance strategy 2021-2032 to ensure our top athletes are fully prepared and resourced to compete successfully at international level.

Some highlights of the Sports Action Plan include:

·       The development of a national database of all sport and recreational facilities countrywide that will make key information on sporting facilities accessible to all.

·       A new youth forum on sport so young people have input into the design and implementation of programmes to encourage lifelong engagement with sport and physical activity.

·       Publication of a Major Events Strategy to bring international tournaments to Ireland, including the 2030 FIFA and T20 Cricket World Cups.

The measures in the plan will be funded as part of the Government commitment to at least doubling its investment in sport, from €118 million in 2018 to exceed €220 million by 2027.