Frances Fitzgerald T.D. has welcomed the Government’s National Sports Policy 2018- 2027 stating that it has the ability to tangibly affect the sporting ambitions and health of her constituents.

The National Sports Policy 2018 -2027, launched by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport and the Minister of State for Sport Brendan Griffin TD, has fifty seven action points including:

· Sharing of sports facilities between clubs will be prioritised for funding
· Sports Capital Programme to be run annually
· Immediate acceleration of Women in Sports Programme
· Multi-sport, multi-use facilities will also be prioritised
· A commitment to double State investment in sport from €111m in 2018 to €220m in 2027

Speaking about this week’s announcement, Fitzgerald said:

“Under this plan, State investment in sport will double from its current level of €111m to €220m by 2027. This funding will cover three broad aims; increasing participation in sport and physical activity, more excellence from our high performance athletes and improving the capacity of National Governing Bodies (NGBs) and Local Sports Partnerships (LSPs) to deliver sport and physical activity programmes.

“At a national level, we should be ambitious for our country in international competitions and I am glad to see that this plan increases funding to support our competing athletes. In the near future, there will be an immediately acceleration of Women in Sport Programme with a double annual funding provision to €2m and €1.5m will support Team Ireland’s preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics whilst our annual high performance investment will treble to €30m over the next decade.”

Detailing the local benefits of the plan, she stated;

“For those of us not aspiring for competitive success, this plan will give us more opportunities to be physically active. We all know the importance of keeping active for our physical health, especially in light of Ireland’s increasing obesity rates, but we are learning more about its role in positive mental health. Our own local Olympian, Cllr. Kenneth Egan, frequently talks about the healthy release sports and exercise provides while all the clinical advice is that physical activity helps combat anxiety and increased our endorphins.“But while we all know we should exercise, in reality it can be difficult to keep fit between cost, time pressures, finding an activity that suits your abilities and knowing where to start.“Our local South Dublin County Sports Partnership does great work in providing different activity options, from orienteering courses, Park Runs, walks and developing targeted programmes for Senior Citizens, People with Disabilities and Schools. They will play a key role in ensuring that the increased funding nationally translates to more opportunities to be active locally. I would encourage people to link in with them or visit their website, www.sdcsp.ie, for details of sports and physical activities in your local area.“We can already see the benefit of investing in local clubs and facilities in Dublin Mid-West. Since Fine Gael entered Government, over €2.1million in Sports Capital Funding has been invested into delivering new all-weather pitches, improved amenities and modern facilities. It has also seen the installation of free-to-use fitness equipment in Corkagh, Griffeen, Hermitage, Rathcoole and Waterstown Parks. I have always worked with local clubs on developing projects and hope that they continue to avail of this grant when the new €40m round of Sports Capital Funding opens shortly.

“Sports also help foster the great community spirit that exists in our villages, from local teams successes to Round Towers man Jim Gavin leading the Dubs to All-Ireland victory. I am positive that this plan can improve life for clubs and individuals alike. As a local TD, I will continue to work with my government colleagues, Ministers Shane Ross and Brendan Griffin, to ensure that the sporting communities of Clondalkin, Lucan, Palmerstown and the Four Districts are adequately catered for,” concluded Fitzgerald.