A Level Playing Field
Posted on September 02, 2010 at 01:01 PM
Ireland is a sports mad country. From Italia 90, the Rugby Grand Slam, the All Ireland's or the thousands of local and county leagues sport occupies a central role in Irish society and in Irish peoples lives. As party spokesperson on sports I have been working on a Sports Policy for several months now together with members from across the party.
Participating in Sport and Physical Exercise has huge personal benefits in terms of personal health and community integration. While we are a sports mad country, the research shows your education, your economic status and your gender play a significant role in determining your level of participation in sport and physical activity.
We in the Labour Party believe in equality. We believe that every citizen of this state should have the same opportunities sport and physical activity. Together with continuing to support elite athletes, this is the key to our sports policy.
I believe that the best way to increase participation is to put funding into encouraging people into existing facilities and clubs and not just simply more bricks and mortar.
Getting people involved in sports is about more than encouraging kids in schools. It is about helping seniors walking clubs; it is about setting up basketball leagues for the new Irish, it is about working to provide reduced price admission to sporting facilities for the unemployed.
This is why we are proposing at a minimum, to double the funding to the Local Sports Partnerships. The reality of our perilous economic situation is that sports funding will be at a premium for years to come. While the Sports Capital Programme has played an important role in helping clubs improve their facilities it has been open to political patronage and its time has passed. State funding should be put into capital infrastructure that will benefit entire communities and not just a single club or sport.
We are going to reopen the Local authority Swimming Pool Programme to build pools in towns where there has been a huge population surge.
Our goal in schools is to ensure that Physical Education is considered a core subject. We will work to make PE an examinable subject at Leaving Certificate and to ensure each school child gets 2 hours of PE a week. We are committed to helping our elite athletes achieve success on the world stage. We will ensure that they have the supports to achieve the best that they can for their country.
To access the policy document please visit our policy section. I would be keen to hear your opinion on this policy and how we can drive this forward when we are in Government which you can do in the comments section below.
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