Labour will continue to support the sport sector, especially in the context of Brexit. We will roll out an enhanced programme to encourage British tourists to continue to visit Ireland post-Brexit.
Labour will work with Horse Racing Ireland and the industry stakeholders to ensure this important industry is supported and funded. The Labour party recognise the significant contribution that the racing and breeding industry plays in rural Ireland, and the vital employment it offers in every part of the country. We recognise too the huge value of exports from the industry and the need for this indigenous and rural industry to continue to be supported by Government.
Labour will ring-fence part of the Betting Levy to fund animal welfare inspectors to ensure only the highest practice is permitted in any sports or pursuits involving animals (such as greyhound racig and horseracing) and to reform the situation of unwanted dogs.
Labour will require at least 40% representation of women in sport governing bodies, and will push for greater participation in sport by women and girls.
Labour will implement an ambitious strategy to save community grassroots football and to strengthen football’s role in social inclusion, following the serious financial problems in the Football Association of Ireland (FAI). One eighth of the Betting Duty receipts will be allocated to a new Football Fund. This would go some way to recognising that the majority of bets placed are on football. Based on an estimated total revenue of €100 million from Betting Duty in 2020, this would be roughly €12.5 million, with priority given to funding the grassroots underage game. This funding would be a lifeline to the game of football and to the many communities who have been failed by the FAI. And it would give a reformed FAI the opportunity to get its finances in order. Funding would focus on social inclusion, gender equality, anti-racism and integration. The state’s role will be to support the model emerging from the football community, rather than initiate and develop it. Part of the goal of the new grassroots underage football organisation would be to tackle low education levels within the domestic game and to encourage school completion. A pilot programme would involve five DEIS secondary schools to provide football academies, along the lines of Stephen Elliot academies in the UK, where schools provide intensive football coaching in tandem with regular schoolwork and progress towards qualifications. The new funding would allow for an increase in the number of Football Development Officers co-funded with local authorities.