Minister of State for Sport, Michael Ring T.D. has announced a EUR 19.6m investment in Irish Sport of which Paralympics Ireland was one of the big winners with a significant increase in funding to the organisation from the Irish Sports Council.
Speaking at the launch, Minister Ring, who had the honour of placing the gold medal around the neck of sprinter Jason Smyth at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, stated: “[This] investment is a substantial commitment from the Irish Government to Paralympic sport. Sport showed in London that it has the unique ability to unite the nation in support of our elite athletes with a disability on the world stage.”
John Treacy, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Irish Sports Council echoed the thinking behind the increased support:
“It was a priority for us to work with Paralympics Ireland to ensure that a proven model of delivery of success around London can be replicated for Rio 2016. We were in a position to provide Paralympics Ireland with specific investment to secure the holding camp base in Uberlandia that the Paralympic Team can road test in 2015 and be their final preparation base in the build up to next year’s Games.”
Paralympics Ireland receives investment from the Irish Sports Council’s High Performance Budget in two phases. The core investment is to support the administration of the organisation and some programmes such as team development initiatives. This investment increased from increased from EUR 310,000 to EUR 325,000 in 2015.
The performance investment supporting the preparation of Paralympic sports and athletes on the Road to Rio also received an increase in investment from EUR 610,000 to EUR 665,000. Paralympics Ireland is currently finalising the allocation of this investment across the tier one sports, the sports science and medical programme and coaching support.
The organisation also received a special ring-fenced investment of EUR 188,000 to cover the costs of the Uberlandia Camp.
Welcoming the increased investment, Paralympics Ireland CEO, Liam Harbison said: “In spite of a flat budget to the ISC for 2015, the Council have responded positively to the need for increased investment in Paralympics Ireland this year.
“Our ability to support athletes in this critical qualifying year is greatly enhanced by the increased investment. While we would encourage government to make a greater investment in sport, particularly as the economy recovers, we readily acknowledge the support Paralympic sport has continued to receive and look forward to continued growth of investment over the coming years.”