2014: Another Landmark Year for Irish Sport

2014 was another outstanding year for Irish Sport according to figures published today by the Irish Sports Council, with record levels of participation and over 50 medals achieved at World and European events.

The Irish Sports Council, in association with IPSOS-MRBI, indicated a significant increase in sports participation to 47.2%, with almost 1.7 million Irish adults participating in sport regularly.

In addition, Sport is continues to play a significant part in closing the gender gap; as women's participation has grown to 42.7% with an additional 32,000 women taking part in some form of sporting activity since 2011.

Commenting upon the increase, Minister of State Michael Ring said: "The value of participating in sport and physical activity cannot be underestimated; even small improvements in participation levels have health, social and economic benefits both for the individual and for society as a whole. Government investment in sport is delivering results, both in terms of increasing participation levels and the success of our elite sportspeople. I look forward to another good year for Irish sport in 2015 and to seeing more and more people taking part in sport and enjoying the health and social benefits it brings."

 

2014 was another phenomenal year on the track, the ring, the road and the water. The success of athletes such as Martin Irvine, Mark English, Jason Smyth, Katie Taylor and Michael McKillop represented the most successful 'sustained' period in the history of high performance sport in Ireland.

This year, the Council supported 19 governing bodies of sport in the development of high performance plans, 85 athletes under the International Carding Scheme and 9 emerging professional golfers under the Team Ireland Golf Trust Programme.

Recognising the achievements, Kieran Mulvey, Chairman of the Irish Sports Council said: "Ireland continues to excel on the world stage. This success is built upon the foundations of the Council's High Performance Strategy, which was underpinned this year by the successful implementation of recommendations from the independent review following our performance in London and the successful transition of the international carding scheme to athletics, sailing and swimming".

At the Institute of Sport, the Council provided high performance athletes and coaches with the environment to perform on the world stage through the delivery of world class supports, people and systems.

With construction to begin on the High Performance Support and Training Environment in 2015 year, the Council's ability to ensure world class support to our athletes, in Ireland, is another significant milestone in the future of high performance sport in Ireland.

Reflecting on another landmark year, John Treacy, Chief Executive of the Irish Sports Council said: "The Council work extensively in partnership with National Governing Bodies, Local Sports Partnerships, Government Departments and Agencies and International Bodies. We are committed to developing the sports sector and enhancing the quality of sport and the quality of life in Ireland.

In 2014, the Council also launched the Organisational Capability Building Strategy 2014-2018. The five year strategy aims to assist sports organisations successfully build organisational capability to their desired level and ensure that the services provided are fit for purpose.

Underpinning the success, at both elite and grassroots level, are the national governing bodies of sport (NGBs).

The Council worked closely with over 60 NGBs providing support in the areas of Strategic Planning, Administration; Information technology; Competitions; Equipment, Coaching and core activities including Code of Ethics and Anti-doping Programmes.

In 2014, membership across the sporting sector reached record highs with memberships in Athletics increasing 62.7% since 2010 to over 50,000 while cycling has increased by 207.2% since 2010 to over 20,000 members.

The Council is committed to inspiring fair play in sport and protecting the rights of clean athletes.

In 2014, the Council's world class Anti Doping Programme's, internationally recognised by the World Anti Doping Agency, hosted an information day in advance of the forthcoming Irish Anti Doping rules which will come into effect on 1 January.

The programme continued to make substantial progress in the areas of testing, education and research and continues to be intelligence-led including the further development of quality led targeted blood testing.