Sport Ireland Statement on Racism & Discrimination

24 Jun 2020
David Gash

In recent weeks, a global spotlight has been shone on the issue of racism. Racism, and the need for its complete eradication, has rightly been the focus of much discussion in Ireland during this time.

Sport Ireland is unequivocal in its stance against racism. Sport Ireland stands in solidarity with our athletes, staff and wider society, and is committed to combatting racism and all forms of discrimination in sport.

Unfortunately, sport is not immune from racism and Irish athletes have added their voice to the conversation in recent days and weeks, outlining how they have experienced racism first-hand.

Sport Ireland has listened to the voices of athletes and staff members and acknowledges that the organisation can do better in this area; it must continually seek to do better.

‘Sport must be welcoming and inclusive, offering appropriate opportunities for participation and improvement to all. We will promote inclusion to deliver our desired outcomes with a focus on addressing social, disability, gender, ethnic and other gradients.’

Fostering this key value of the Government’s National Sports Policy 2018-2027, Sport Ireland is the key delivery agent of Action 6 of the policy, which targets an inclusive approach to encouraging participation in sport.

In this regard, within the next six months Sport Ireland will be inviting funding applications for anti-discrimination initiatives from the National Governing Bodies for Sport and Local Sports Partnerships.

Sport Ireland will also be writing to all National Governing Bodies and Local Sports Partnerships to highlight the importance of actively exploring how we all can do better, both collectively and individually, to combat discrimination in sport.

Sport Ireland has commenced the development of a Diversity and Inclusion policy, with a competitive procurement process underway to appoint a consultant to work on this project, which will be led by Sport Ireland’s Diversity and Inclusion Manager.

This work will compliment Sport Ireland’s ongoing work in the promotion of inclusion and diversity in sport.

Sport Ireland invests directly in Local Sports Partnerships and National Governing Bodies through the Dormant Accounts Fund, and ethnic minorities are one of the target groups through this investment.

The design, delivery and implementation of targeted initiatives by the LSPs and NGBs directly increases the level of local participation. Through their local expertise and connections within the sports infrastructure LSPs are able to identify specific needs and plan accordingly.

In 2019, LSPs reached 15,089 people through 85 initiatives specifically targeting ethnic minorities. This number does not account for the diversity of people participating in generic programmes within their community.

Sport Ireland engages with relevant government departments and agencies to contribute to the development of whole of government policies and strategies which seek to address all areas of social exclusion. Sport Ireland has contributed to the development of the Migrant Integration Strategy, the National LGBTI+ strategies, and currently sits on the Migrant Integration Strategy Monitoring and Coordination Committee.

Through the administration of Dormant Account Funding to our main partners, Sport Ireland is committed to promoting inclusion and integration through sport. Since its commencement in 2015,  approximately €18 million has been distributed to support the development and implementation of inclusive policies and programmes.

Sport Ireland’s Diversity and Inclusion Manager will continue to engage with all stakeholders in this space to foster relationships with representative organisations and to provide support and guidance to the sport sector.