Irish Gymnastics and the 4 Year Plan


By now the rest of the World are aware of Ireland’s current financial difficulties. Ireland officially applied for a bailout or “loan” from the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and European Union.  Within the last week, Ireland has made the headlines everywhere, insisting the country didn’t need a bailout from the IMF, to a badly organized press conference on Sunday evening announcing that the bailout is required and to the Green Party announcing that they will withdraw from the coalition Government and called for a General Election (GE) as did Sinn Féin.  Pressure was then put on Taoiseach Brian Cowen to resign from his post, he has vowed to stay with his party to make sure to have the budget put through the Dáil on 7th of December and then the country can have a general election, although no one is quite sure when that will be – January, February, March have been mentioned as has May 2011.  Sinn Fein want the Dáil dissolved and an immediate GE to take place before the budget is put through.  In short, it’s all one big giant mess.

If you’d like to read more about the current situation and everything that has happened over the last few days in the country from protests to what Ireland should expect from the bailoutThe Journal has been great in offering reports and explanations of everything.  I find it very easy to read, otherwise when I hear politicians on tv or read in the nationa newspapers I often find it all hard to understand.

Today the current governments (coalition of Fianna Fáil and the Green Party) 4 Year Plan to reduce the budget deficit was announced. Opposition parties in the government have criticised the Taoiseachs 4 year plan as they feel it does little to encourage economic growth. One of the main points of the 4 year plan is that tax rates are being re-based back to 2006 levels.  The minimum wage will be cut by €1 with those on it now being taxed. You can read all the details in the 4 Year Plan link above.  Among the plan was the announcement that there will be a reduction in funding to sporting bodies and grants to local sports organizations. In total €50 million will be reduced from the current funding total.  This will also effect the Arts Council. Opposition parties in the government have criticized the Taoiseach’s 4 year plan as they feel it does little to encourage economic growth.

As discussed before, Irish Gymnastics receives significantly less funding from the government than other sports in Ireland. In 2010, IG received a total  funding allocation of €238,545. Gymnastics in Ireland was one of only 11 sports out of 59 funded that maintained their funding levels in 2010 where the Irish Sports Council’s budget was cut by 4%. There was also a cut of €20,000 in the “Women In Sport” allocation for 2010, with IG receiving €69,000 from the total fund, not bad considering it was ranked 8th out of the 27 sports allocated funding.

The sport in Ireland is getting more and more popular these days. A lot of full time gyms are popping up, compared to 5 or so years ago there were very few, most clubs could only dream of owning a full time gym. It’s fantastic that over the last few years a lot of clubs have begun training in a full time facility. Who knows how much funding IG will receive for 2011? How much will that be reduced up to 2012? And what affect will that have on the sports development? Last year a total of €49.6 million in tax payer’s money was invested in the development of all Irish sport. Last week the Irish Sports Council made a submission to Minister for Sport, Mary Hanafin highlighting the following points;

  • Submission to Minister for Sport Highlights Vital Role of Government Investment in the Development of Sport in Ireland
  • Cuts Today Will Set Back Sport For Decades to Come
  • Sports Funding Already Down by 62% since 2008

The submission document to Government fully acknowledges the difficult economic climate and the challenges for Government in where to invest taxpayer’s money in the next budget. It does make the point, however, that the money invested in sport works at many different levels and has impacts for everyone whether that be in terms of health, the economy, tourism or the very fabric of the community in Ireland.

The submission lists all of the activities made possible by Government funding each year and it also points out that any reduction in such funding is likely to have major effects right across the sporting spectrum.

It also notes strongly that at a time when Ireland’s stock has never been lower internationally that our sports stars continue to be an immense source of pride to Irish people all over the world. It notes that without exception those individual teams that the country is so proud of have all benefited from the funding that the Government has put into Irish sport down through the years. It also notes that the impact of any cuts in funding will not necessarily be felt immediately but will impact on Ireland’s international successes in the decades to come.

Fingers crossed that gymnastics won’t take a big hit as a result of the reduced funding in the 4 year plan. Understandably the country must get back on its feet so cuts are being made from everywhere possible but people often look to sport to keep them going during tough times, parents often have to pull their kids from the sport they love to save money. Without the funding and support it will be more difficult for Irish Gymnasts to be recognised on the International stage. The Men’s Team did well at the Worlds but unfortunately did not qualify into the finals. Luke Carson also competed very well at the Commonwealth Games in October and 3 female gymnasts took part in the London 2009 World Championships. The girls also competed in the Northern Europeans lately. Hopefully the reduced funding will not hinder Ireland’s top gymnasts from excelling internationally in the future. Another point raised was that London 2012 will possibly help the country’s  finances, with international teams using Ireland as training venues, the USA Synchronised swimming team have will be using the National Aquatic Centre as their training facility. Other venues of interest as University College Dublin and the University of Limerick. Hopefully more countries will want to use Ireland as their location when competing in 2012, thus showing that all sports need the funding provided by the Government to support these requests.

If you’re interested you can read the summary leaflet of the 4 Year Plan here.

What are your opinions? How has gymnastics in your country coped with reduced funding since the global recession? If you have anything to share, please leave a comment below.


  1. Canada has not suffered at all relative to baseline government funding.

    Our TRAMPOLINE programs is successful enough to keep Artistic afloat.

    We had a very slight recession compared with the USA. No bank failures.


    good luck, Ireland

  2. Admin says:

    Good to hear Rick!

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