📷 Sport Ireland

In a resounding declaration of support for Irish athletes, the Irish Government, through Sport Ireland, recently announced a monumental investment of €25 million into High Performance Sport annually. This unprecedented sum marks the highest level of investment ever recorded in the realm of Irish sports, underscoring a pivotal stride towards the objectives outlined in the National Sports Policy 2018-2027.


The significance of this financial commitment cannot be overstated. It represents not only a substantial increase from previous investment cycles but also a public show of the government’s steadfast dedication to fostering long-term progress in Irish athletics. With over €89 million earmarked for investment from 2021 to 2024, it’s evident that this surge in funding is not merely a flash in the pan but a sustained initiative aimed at propelling Irish athletes to new heights of achievement on the global stage.

The impact of this funding infusion is already being seen through the sports community, shown in the remarkable performance of Irish athletes over the past year. A fantastic total of 99 medals, including 41 Gold, 25 Silver, and 33 Bronze, have been clinched in prestigious international competitions. These wins, spanning across various age categories, underscore the depth of talent and the efficacy of strategic investment in nurturing sporting excellence.

 Central to this funding initiative is the provision of support to individual athletes through the Podium funding programme. 33 athletes, including luminaries such as Ciara Mageean, Mark English, Ellen Keane, and Kellie Harrington, have been granted the highest level of funding, amounting to €40,000 each. This financial backing is not only a testament to their past achievements but also a vote of confidence in their potential to excel on the global stage.

 Moreover, the funding extends beyond individual athletes to include relay teams in swimming and athletics, as well as teams in para-cycling, ensuring that small teams receive the support they need to thrive. This approach shows an understanding of the various natures of high-performance sports and the importance of fostering teamwork among athletes and teams.

 Beyond the immediate impact on medal numbers, this record level of investment predicts a pattern shift in the landscape of Irish sports. It signifies developments from ad-hoc funding to a more structured and sustainable approach, with long-term planning in focus. Core funding allocated to 19 different sports further shows this commitment to nurturing an array of sporting disciplines and cultivating athletic talent.

 The resonance of this funding announcement extends far beyond the realm of sports. It speaks to national pride and collective goals, encapsulating an Irish spirit of togetherness and identity. As Minister Catherine Martin aptly observes, this investment reflects a “people-first” approach, recognising the inherent value of supporting athletes not only during their competitive careers but also in their transition to life beyond sports.

 Looking ahead to the Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games, there is a sense of anticipation and optimism in the air. Encouraged by this unprecedented level of support, Team Ireland is set to make its mark on the world stage, showcasing the culmination of years of dedication, sacrifice, and unwavering commitment.

 The record funding allocated to High Performance Sport in Ireland represents more than just a financial transaction; it is a statement of belief in the transformative power of sports to inspire, unite, and uplift. As we embark on this exciting new chapter in Irish athletics, let us stand together in solidarity behind our athletes, cheering them on as they strive for greatness and etch their names into the annals of sporting history.

Though Sport Ireland is focused on the long-term development of a system, this increase in funding will set Team Ireland up to perform to their best in Paris.

By Ciara Gannon
Senior Marketing Executive
Emu Ink Publishing