Ireland’s sports tourism, which is estimated to be worth around €500 million per year to the country, has landed a €150 million grant package.
Last month, it was announced that Ireland had received a package of €150 million in new capital grants for its Sports Capital and Equipment Programme (SCEP). As announced by Catherine Martin, Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, and Jack Chambers, Minister of State for the Gaeltacht and Sport, €144 million will be given to approximately 1,900 applications, while the remaining six million euros will be reserved for applicants who launch successful appeals.
“Sport is crucial for all communities in Ireland. There was a record number of applications for these grants and the government responded with the most significant level of individual awards ever,” said Martin. “So this is a great day for sports clubs and community groups right around the country and I want to congratulate all of the successful applicants.”
Ireland’s sporting initiatives receive new investment after time of hardship
The international Covid pandemic had a great impact on sports industries across the globe. However, sport was also a key activity for overcoming the negative impacts of said pandemic. Now, Ireland has an opportunity to improve its sports facilities in every county across the country. It has been reported that a wide variety of sports and activities will be represented, from competitive track, field games and walking, while a great emphasis has also been placed on female participation.
“I want to thank all of the volunteers associated with these clubs for their tireless work and their commitment to improving their facilities to benefit all members,” Martin added.
Sports Capital and Equipment Programme remains key initiative for Irish sports
The SCEP has long been a key service for supporting Irish sport programmes. However, the investment of €150 million is by far the biggest contribution the initiative has ever received. Funding will reportedly be given to major field sports, tennis clubs, cricket, boxing, kayaking, wheelchair sports and martial arts too.
The return of crowds to sporting events has been key for the industry, and the aim for Irish officials now is to get as many people participating in these activities as possible.
“Covid-19 revealed to us all the importance of community and I am particularly pleased that so many community centres and organisations have been allocated funding to develop projects in towns and villages across the country”, said Chambers. “If we want to achieve our participation targets, we must provide high quality facilities and that is what today’s announcement is all about”.
However, the money will not just be used for grants to local clubs. It has been reported that over €17 million will be provided for projects that are of “regional significance”, such as GAA County Boards, National Governing Bodies of Sport and Local Authorities.
Record funding emerges from challenges of past two years
The record funding for Ireland’s sports initiatives reflects how difficult it has been for sporting outfits in the country during the last two years. The Sports Capital and Equipment Programme is considered to be the primary vehicle for government support for the development of sports and recreation facilities and the purchase of non-personal sports equipment throughout the country.
It has been reported that since 1998, over 13,000 projects have benefited from sports capital, bringing in revenues of around €1.1 billion.
Sports tourism has been noted to be worth around €500 million per year to Ireland. This figure rises depending on whether the country is hosting a major international sports event.