Yesterday a document was released on behalf of the Irish Minister for Sport which listed a huge number of sports clubs around the country to benefit from a Department of Sport grant scheme. Almost €26 million in new funding for local sports projects across the country, the first round of sports capital funding in four years. A number of gymnastics clubs were lucky enough to receive money from the scheme. New criteria were introduced for this year’s programme with a particular emphasis on clubs in disadvantaged areas. A total of 2,170 applications were received, the highest number of applications ever received under the Programme. These applications sought a total of €229 million in funding. Further allocations of €4 million will be made to national and regional projects in the coming weeks.
Rob Fuller, a Director of Renmore Gymnastics Club in Galway writes an open letter to Mr Michael Ring, Minister for Sport and the board of Directors of Gymnastics Ireland.
December 12th, 2012
Dear Honourable Minister and Members of the Board,
I am writing to convey my deep personal disappointment with the allocations of the Sports Capital
Programme Local Projects announced yesterday. Of the €25.9 million granted, more than half went
to the GAA sports and Soccer, while less than 1% to gymnastics. I find this completely
Since the previous round of sports capital funding, I have personally volunteered several thousand
hours to our local gymnastics club. From 2007 until now, our club has grown from 130 to now over
700 members (mostly girls) training each week. This has not happened without ongoing and tireless
hard work by many people who, like myself, are convinced that gymnastics is good for children.
Although I am somewhat disappointed that our club did not receive the modest funding for which
we applied, I am gravely disheartened to discover that the sport of gymnastics barely shows on the
radar of this government.
Were my wife and I wrong to let our children choose gymnastics as their sport? Today it might seem
that the answer is yes. The national governing body has failed to make sufficient representation of
this sport, and your department seems consequently uninterested.
What should we say this week to the children in our club who train 20 hours/week, and those who
train 1 hour/week, rain or shine, throughout the year? What do we say to the many coaches and
volunteers and thousands of children across Ireland who participate in this sport each week? What
do I say to the coach who only yesterday suggested that Ireland could realistically set our sights to
compete gymnastics in the 2020 Olympics?
“Gymnastics is good for children, but maybe not so good for government”? “Women in sport is not
on the agenda”?
Gymnastics is an international sport. It is an Olympic sport. It is part of the Primary School
Curriculum. Gymnastics is a foundational sport that teaches coordination, strength, confidence and
skills which are needed and used in any number of other sports. Gymnastics is good for children.
Minister, the current round of sports capital local grant allocation significantly underfunds the sport
of gymnastics on a per capita basis. Furthermore, it appears to once again, to put “Women in Sport”
onto the back burner. I urge you to analyse the allocations and redress these issues. I hope that the
Board of Gymnastics Ireland will soon see fit to engage your interest in this excellent sport and help
you to discover, as I have, how gymnastics truly is good for children.
Sincerely Yours in Sport,
1% to gymnastics? 1%? Congratulations to those will benefit from the grant scheme.