12 October 2016
By Bryan Smyth
Fianna Fail Spokesperson Sport, Kevin O’Keeffe TD have said that they deeply disappointed and angry at the Government’s decision to cut funding to sport and recreational services for 2017 by 17%.
“This is an incredibly regressive decision from the Government. It is one of the few funding cuts in Budget 2017, and it’s clear that they want it swept under the carpet in the hope that it will go unnoticed,” said O’Keeffe.
“The once-off payment to the National Sports Campus, in Abbotstown, while worthy, has reduced the overall fund for local sports organisations across the State. The Minister must understand that this will be seen as a very short-sighted decision.”
“If Minister Ross had spent the same amount of energy in fighting for extra funding as he did in trying to explain the decision on radio, sports organisations across the country would be feeling a lot more positive about their futures today.”
“One good thing to come from today’s budget announcement is the clarity that has been given on the next round of Sports Capital Grants. I welcome that the next round will take place in 2017, albeit 12 months late,” said the Cork East TD.
“We often here politicians speak regularly about the Health, mental well-being, and fitness benefits of sports and recreation.”
“The decision to make such a drastic cut has the potential to adversely affect all communities’ across the whole of Co. Cork.”
“Quality sport and recreational services play an important role in our general well-being, and decisions like this will affect many sporting clubs and societies,” added O’Keeffe.
“I can assure the Government, and all Government TDs in Cork, that it won’t go unnoticed by the thousands of sports organisations in the country.”
“Many local clubs and sporting organisations have been left in limbo over the past two years as they waited for the next round of scheme. These organisations provide amazing services to people in both rural and urban settings,” added O’Keeffe.
“The Sports Capital Grants allows them to improve, and expand, their offerings to their communities, and I look forward to supporting clubs and organisations in their applications.”
“I urge all those who wish to apply for these grants to now begin preparing their applications now and to be prepared for when the Department opens the application process.”
“Over the next number of days, I will be seeking a response from Ministers O’Donovan and Ross as to why they failed to fight for, and obtain, extra sports funding in Budget negotiations with Minister O’Donoghue.”
“They have taken their eye off the ball, and failed to deliver for Irish Sport. It needs investment, and both Ministers failed in their responsibilities.”
“The 12 month delay in the Sports Capital Grant Scheme has already caused massive problems for sports organisations. The latest cut in funding only makes matters worse,” concluded O’Keeffe.