Ireland’s Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls received a boost with the announcement of an Irish Sports Council €10 million package of support for 2012. This includes €2.34 million under the International Carding Scheme which is the funding that goes directly to athletes. This compares with the 2011 final year figure of €2.32 million. Among the 27 recipients of the top “podium” grant of €40,000 are established major championship performers Olive Loughane, Derval O’Rourke, Jason Smyth, Mark Rohan, Grainne Murphy, Katie Taylor, John Joe Nevin and Annalise Murphy.
This total funding package of investment is on a par with 2011which had a final year total of €10.3 million. It means €40 million will be invested by the Council over the four year cycle of 2009 to 2012. In the three years of this cycle to date 102 medals have been won at international championship level in supported programmes. This compares with 70 medals won in the four year cycle to 2008 on the basis of an investment of €40.5 million. In 2011 it was significant that 58 of the 59 medals won were by Irish athletes based at home in domestic programmes.
Mr. Michael Ring TD, Minister for Tourism & Sport made the announcement in Dublin today (February 14); “2012 is a critically important year for Irish sport and it is vital that financial support is made available to athletes to ensure the best possible preparation for London 2012. Everyone knows that we are going through some difficult economic times but I was determined to ensure our top athletes were protected in the run up to the most important event of their sporting careers. The level of success of Irish sports people has been incredible over the past few years and it is a source of pride that the Irish public has been supporting them all the way”.
The Chairman of the Irish Sports Council Mr Kieran Mulvey commented; “I made a commitment in December 2010 that there would be no reduction in high performance funding up to the London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games. That promise has been honoured and the Council is providing a very significant investment package for our top athletes. It has been a remarkably successful few years for Irish sport and there is a real return on taxpayers’ investment by our elite sportspeople. We wish them the very best for the exciting year ahead”.
In 2012 €6.68 million will be invested in Performance Plans; the equivalent figure in 2011 was €6.86 million. The Institute of Sport will be providing significant support services to all of the sports from its base at the National Sports Campus at Abbotstown.
The package includes funding of €440,000 for the Olympic Council of Ireland in 2012. The OCI is responsible for managing the Irish team at the London 2012 Camps. The funding this year will support the provision of pre-London camps, based at St. Mary’s in Twickenham, and other sports services and administration costs.
It brings to more than €1.5 million the total amount of support provided to the OCI in the 4-year London cycle. There is an operational agreement in place between the Irish Sports Council and the OCI which has ensured cooperation between the agencies in the build up to the Games. Of particular note is the London Technical Group which coordinates all athlete service support leading into and at the Games. All relevant agencies, North and South, are represented on that Group.
John Treacy, Chief Executive of the Irish Sports Council, speaking at the event, said “2010 and 2011 have been very successful years for Irish sport. We hope 2012 will be as successful. However we know how difficult it is to win any medal at an Olympic or Paralympic Games and a repeat of the success of Beijing would be a reasonable target.”
High performance sport is planned and implemented on an all island basis. Sport NI and SINI (Sports Institute Northern Ireland) are fully part of the planning and operational elements of the system. Sport NI is a funding partner and provides resources in addition to those announced today.
The International Carding Scheme will support athletes, teams and junior & developmental squads in 23 sports. This year it includes 118 senior level athletes including 27 at “podium” level and 19 at “world class”. The Performance Directors, who are the key individuals within the system, ensure that the Carding Scheme and Performance Plans are complementary and that elite athletes are supported in the financial and non-financial aspects of their programmes.
In March the details will be announced of the Council’s support for key high performance events to be hosted in Ireland in 2012 such as the FIH Men’s Olympic Qualifier, the ISAF World Youths and the Men’s European Golf Championships.
“Podium” Athletes 2012
Olive Loughnane Athletics Ireland
Derval O’Rourke Athletics Ireland
Robert Heffernan Athletics Ireland
David Gillick Athletics Ireland
Catherine Walsh Cycling Ireland
Mark Rohan Cycling Ireland
Colin Lynch Cycling Ireland
Daniel Martin Cycling Ireland
Joe Ward Irish Amateur Boxing Association
Darren O’Neill Irish Amateur Boxing Association
Ray Moylette Irish Amateur Boxing Association
Katie Taylor Irish Amateur Boxing Association
Paddy Barnes Irish Amateur Boxing Association
John Joe Nevin Irish Amateur Boxing Association
John Joe Joyce Irish Amateur Boxing Association
Eric Donovan Irish Amateur Boxing Association
Kenneth Egan Irish Amateur Boxing Association
Tyrone McCullagh Irish Amateur Boxing Association
Eoin Rheinisch Irish Canoe Union
Derek Burnett Irish Clay Pigeon Shooting Association
Peter O’Leary Irish Sailing Association
David Burrows Irish Sailing Association
Annalise Murphy Irish Sailing Association
Catherine O’Neill Paralympic Athletics Ireland
Michael McKillop Paralympic Athletics Ireland
Jason Smyth Paralympic Athletics Ireland
Grainne Murphy Swim Ireland