Major €80m Funding Boost for Sports to recover, grow and attract people nationwide

  • €73.6 million in COVID-19 related funding


  • €5.3m for Sport Equipment


Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD, and Minister of State for Sport and Gaeltacht Affairs, Jack Chambers T.D, together with Sport Ireland, have announced almost €80m for the sport sector under two separate support programmes.

Some €73.6m in Covid funding is being allocated under five separate streams to help sports organisations to recover and grow post pandemic, support our grassroots network of clubs and local sports partnerships, and ensure people of all ages and abilities return to sport and physical activity.

A further €5.3m is being provided to sport National Governing Bodies (NGBs) and Local Sports Partnerships (LSPs) for the provision of sports equipment including the roll out of defibrillators for clubs, kits for school children and state of the art equipment for our high-performance athletes.

Today’s announcement follows a commitment from both Ministers of a €65 million COVID-19 investment programme. Additional investment has been provided through the 2021 Sport Ireland budget providing total COVID support of €73.617 million to the sector. The timing of the schemes provides stability and certainty to the sports sector as it emerges from the pandemic and plans for 2022.

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD said: “As a nation so fond of sports, we are very supportive of our clubs, our competitors and of course everyone who enjoys physical activity. But the last two years have been two of the most challenging for all sports organisations and the announcement of this funding will come as a relief for the sports sector. It’s important that the sport sector is on a firm financial footing. The additional funding, coupled with the increase in the budget for sport in 2022, will ensure the long-term viability of our sports organisations, high performance sport and will make sure sport remains accessible to all. These emergency funds will reach all corners of the country, a myriad of activities and ensure clubs and grassroots groups continue their great work.”


Minister of State for Sport and Gaeltacht Affairs Jack Chambers TD, added: “I welcome today’s allocations announced by Sport Ireland, which recognise the immense contribution that sport and physical activity has made to Ireland’s response to the pandemic. All facets of society continue to adjust as the public health situation evolves and our National Governing Bodies, Local Sports Partnership and sports clubs are to be commended on how they have adapted. Government understands that this has been challenging for all and the funding allocated today will assist the sector as it continues to play an important role in supporting all members of society getting and staying active.”

Specific investment has also been provided for the disability sport sector in line with the SportForAll initiative with, amongst others, Special Olympics Ireland, the Irish Wheelchair Association and Paralympics Ireland receiving financial support. A number of the approved equipment grants are also specifically targeted at disability sport.

This investment recognises the disproportionate and unanticipated extent of COVID-19 restrictions on their activities and the difficulties associated with a resumption and return to normal levels of activity.

Chairman of Sport Ireland, Kieran Mulvey, commented: “Sport Ireland has engaged extensively with the sector since the onset of the pandemic to understand the pressure points and where organisations need support. This is reflected in the allocations made today by Sport Ireland, which also factor in the wider economic and social impact of sport. It was a priority of the Board of Sport Ireland that the needs of the disability sector were specifically addressed, with ring-fenced funding being allocated in the allocations. The recent budget announcement by the Ministers of an increase in the overall sports funding for 2022 has further reinforced that sense of confidence that support is available. We look forward to working with our funded bodies and a positive 2022.”

The total amount of money available is designed to protect the existing physical and operational infrastructure of Irish sport. This is in recognition that any reconstruction of Irish sport would ultimately cost more over the long run.

Sport Ireland Chief Executive, John Treacy, said: “While organised sport has returned in a meaningful way in recent months, the impact of the restriction of the last two years is still being felt across the sector. Indoor sports in particular have been disproportionately affected, while a large number of outdoor sports have seen their commercial programmes hit. The funding announced by Sport Ireland will alleviate the pressure on these sports and help the wider club infrastructure to sustain their commendable efforts in providing for their membership. As throughout the pandemic, Sport Ireland remains available to our national sporting organisations to provide support and guidance where necessary.” 

The COVID funding announced today is in addition to the COVID-19 contingency fund which was directed towards exceptional costs generated by the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, which were postponed for 12 months until this year. This contingency fund ensured National Governing Bodies were supported to address costs incurred that were beyond the scope of Sport Ireland’s High Performance Programme funding and other programme resources. Full details are set out in Appendix I.

In relation to the separate equipment funding, Sport Ireland was requested to identify and prioritise proposals from NGBs and LSPs which would advance the Government’s National Sports Policy with a focus on the areas of participation, inclusion, female involvement in sport and delivery of the Sport Ireland High Performance Strategy 2021-2032.

Following completion of their assessment process, Sport Ireland recommended grants totalling €5.3m broken down as follows:

  • €3.4m to support NGBs further advance participation opportunities;
  • €1.4m to support NGBs advance the strategic objectives of the Sport Ireland High Performance Strategy; and
  • €0.5m to Local Sports Partnerships to advance participation and physical opportunities at a community level.

Full details of these equipment grants are shown in Appendix II.



Appendix I – COVID Supports


Scheme One – IRFU, FAI, GAA

This specific fund was created in recognition of the particular operational challenges facing the three largest field sports. These organisations’ ability to generate commercial income continued to be severely disrupted throughout 2021.


Scheme Two – NGB Resilience Fund

Broadly, the allocations cover the loss of income from events, ticket sales, sponsorship, affiliation & membership fees, courses, services and the additional costs arising from the implementation of social distancing and Covid-19 protocols. It is acknowledged that indoor sports and Governing Bodies who are more reliant on commercial activity and have more diverse streams of income will require greater support.


Scheme Three – Club Resilience Fund

A large number of the challenges faced by Governing Bodies are replicated across their Club network with income from affiliation & membership fees, events, competition, coaching courses and ancillary services all reduced. The additional costs arising from the implementation of social distancing and Covid-19 protocols has also had a significant impact on Club activities where the sharing of equipment, facilities and resources is common place.  In addition, there are a number of Governing Bodies whose network of Clubs consist of commercial organisations operating out of dedicated facilities with full time staff and strong annual turnovers. Such organisations are more reliant on membership, competition and coaching revenues as well as income from ancillary sporting and non-sporting commercial activity.

Sport Ireland will not fund Clubs, Affiliates, Provinces or Branches directly and funding will be accessed through programmes established by the Governing Body.


Scheme Four – Swimming Pool & Facilities Fund

This scheme provides specific funding to support the reopening and continued viability of Swimming Pools along with the strategic facilities of National Governing Bodies & Local Sports Partnerships.

A Funding Scheme for swimming pools will be designed and delivered by Ireland Active in consultation with Sport Ireland.


Scheme Five – Resumption of Sport & Physical Activity

A Restart Fund to support the return of sport and physical activity post pandemic has been made available.

The Scheme seeks to support a number of key focus areas

  • A Disability Sport Fund
  • Older Adults Support
  • Third Level Education Support
  • NGB Grassroots & Indoor Sport Support
  • LSP Small Grant Scheme
  • LSP Grassroots Sport Support




Total Overall NGB Allocations

Organisation Scheme One   Scheme Two  Scheme Three  Scheme Five  Total
Gaelic Athletic Association 20,000,000 20,000,000
Football Association of Ireland 19,000,000 19,000,000
Irish Rugby Football Union 18,000,000 18,000,000
Field Sports Total 57,000,000 57,000,000
Special Olympics Ireland 500,000 500,000
Irish Wheelchair Association Sport 142,000 142,000
CARA 80,000 80,000
Paralympics Ireland 65,000 65,000
Vision Sports Ireland 50,000 50,000
Disability Sport Total 837,000 837,000
Cricket Ireland 1,300,000 200,000 1,500,000
Basketball Ireland 360,000 550,000 100,000 1,010,000
Golf Ireland 700,000 200,000 900,000
Athletics Ireland 650,000 650,000
Irish Athletic Boxing Association 60,000 400,000 50,000 510,000
Gymnastics Ireland 500,000 500,000
The Camogie Association 500,000 500,000
Irish Martial Arts Commission 225,000 215,000 440,000
Swim Ireland 300,000 125,000 425,000
Horse Sport Ireland 300,000 200,000 500,000
Hockey Ireland 350,000 350,000
Irish Sailing 350,000 350,000
Badminton Ireland 130,000 200,000 330,000
Motor Sport Ireland 120,000 150,000 50,000 320,000
Triathlon Ireland 186,000 125,000 311,000
Volleyball Ireland 200,000 200,000
Irish Squash 60,000 125,000 185,000
Rowing Ireland 85,000 100,000 185,000
National Community Games 100,000 50,000 150,000
Irish Underwater Council / Diving Ireland 10,000 110,000 120,000
Canoeing Ireland 18,000 100,000 118,000
GAA Handball 100,000 100,000
Archery Ireland 32,000 50,000 7,000 89,000
Fencing Ireland 5,000 70,000 75,000
Irish Judo Association 15,000 20,000 35,000 70,000
Motorcycling Ireland 50,000 50,000
Olympic Handball 40,000 40,000
Bowling League of Ireland 40,000 40,000
Rugby League Ireland 15,000 20,000 35,000
Irish Taekwondo Union 15,000 10,000 25,000

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