Of­fi­cials ques­tion sport meet­ings

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - - News - Wayne O’Connor

GOVERN­MENT of­fi­cials ques­tioned if it was “nec­es­sary” or “ad­vis­able” for Sports Min­is­ters Shane Ross and Bren­dan Grif­fin to meet with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of lead­ing sports bod­ies prior to draw­ing up a new na­tional sports pol­icy doc­u­ment.

The Na­tional Sports Pol­icy 2018-2027 sets out a blue­print to­wards achiev­ing in­ter­na­tional sport­ing suc­cess and in­creas­ing par­tic­i­pa­tion.

It was launched last July af­ter an ex­ten­sive con­sul­ta­tion process.

A month be­fore the launch, the Olympic Coun­cil of Ire­land and other ma­jor sport­ing bod­ies wrote to Min­is­ters Ross and Grif­fin re­quest­ing an op­por­tu­nity to dis­cuss the doc­u­ment.

A let­ter signed by the chief ex­ec­u­tives of the OCI, Par­a­lympics Ire­land, the Fed­er­a­tion of Ir­ish Sport (rep­re­sent­ing sport­ing gov­ern­ing bod­ies and lo­cal sports part­ner­ships) and Ire­land Ac­tive, a not for profit whose mem­ber­ship con­sists of sports and leisure cen­tres or clubs, asked to “send out a clear mes­sage about the im­por­tance of sport”.

They said the value of sport is of­ten over­looked and re­quested an op­por­tu­nity to dis­cuss the doc­u­ment be­cause it “high­lights the pos­i­tive health, so­cial and fi­nan­cial im­pacts”.

Doc­u­ments ob­tained un­der the Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act show ad­vis­ers to Mr Ross were con­cerned the meet­ing may not be “nec­es­sary” or “ad­vis­able”.

They con­cluded Mr Ross was not “in a po­si­tion to fa­cil­i­tate a meet­ing”.

A spokesman for the depart­ment said it re­ceived and stud­ied more than 50 sub­mis­sions from stake­hold­ers, in­clud­ing govern­ment de­part­ments, na­tional gov­ern­ing bod­ies of sport, lo­cal sports part­ner­ships and pri­vate in­di­vid­u­als prior to pub­lish­ing the doc­u­ment.

“In ad­di­tion, the depart­ment held a num­ber of bi­lat­eral meet­ings with rel­e­vant govern­ment de­part­ments and other stake­hold­ers dur­ing the draft­ing process in or­der to in­form the de­ci­sion mak­ing on var­i­ous com­plex is­sues re­lat­ing to sport, all of which con­trib­uted to the pub­li­ca­tion of the fi­nal pol­icy doc­u­ment,” he added.

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