IRISH SPORTS COUNCIL ISC launches 'Building Sport for Life' - third Statement of Strategy


Ambitious target to increase children’s participation rates by 3% by 2008.

September 28, 2006.

“The Irish Sports Council, which has been generously funded by the Government since its establishment on a statutory basis, continues to implement significant new advances in Irish sport. The Council has an impressive record of innovation and success since it was established in 1999 and the new strategy will result in further developments for the benefit of sport in Ireland”. - Minister O’Donoghue

The Minister for Arts Sport and Tourism, Mr John O’Donoghue T.D. today (Sep 28) launched the Irish Sports Council’s new three-year strategic plan, “Building Sport for Life.” The document reviews the Council’s performance since 2003 and sets out the organisations key targets for the next three years.

- The completion of the national network of Local Sports Partnerships. The Partnerships are the keystone to increasing participation levels in sport. Sixteen currently exist and the remainder will be established based on the recommendations of the Fitzpatrick Report of 2005.

- The establishment of an independent agency for the Anti-Doping Unit from 2009.

- An internal reorganisation will create a Participation Unit, working with governing bodies and sports partnerships, that will implement the Council’s plans to increase participation in sport. 

- This Unit will drive the achievement of the Council’s ambitious targets of an increase of 1.5% in adult participation rates and of 3% in children’s participation rates over the life of the strategy.

- The establishment of an Irish Institute of Sport. The Institute, launched by An Taoiseach Mr Bertie Ahern TD in July, will provide Ireland’s outstanding athlete with the support structures required to excel on a consistent basis at elite world class competition
Ossie Kilkenny, Chairman of the Irish Sports Council, said at the launch of the new strategy: “The Irish Sports Council is committed to two key strategic objectives; increasing participation in sport and improving standards in elite sport. The Institute of Sport and the Sports Partnerships will be critical in making meaningful progress in these two areas”.

John Treacy, Chief Executive, Irish Sports Council stated; “Building Sport for Life  is a clear statement of the Council’s ambition for Irish sport. Huge progress has been made in recent years, reflected in the very positive evaluation of the Council by partner agencies. This third strategy will see the completion by 2008 of a major body work by the Council, resulting in major, fundamental advances in Irish sport since our establishment in 1999 ”

The development of the strategy took place in 2005, largely based on extensive consultation with client organisation. The Council achieved high approval ratings with 85% of governing bodies and 100% of sports partnerships approving of the work of the Council.

For further details please contact

Paul McDermott  Irish Sports Council  01-8608802


“Building Sport for Life”
Irish Sports Council’s Statement of Strategy 2006-2008

The Irish Sports Council is the statutory development agency for sport in Ireland. Under Section 25 of the Irish Sports Council Act, 1999 the Council is required to prepare a three-year strategy statement for presentation to the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism.

The Council has successfully completed two strategic plans, for the periods 2000-2002 “A New Era for Sport” and 2003-2005 “Sport for Life”.  The Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism approved “Building Sport for Life” which opened the way for publication and implementation.

The Council decided at the outset of the strategic process that the foundations of the previous strategies remain relevant and will continue to underpin the actions of the organisation.

The new strategy reflects the critical developments since “Sport for Life” was published such as the Athens Review, the World Anti-Doping Code and the research programme.

Extensive consultation with client organisation took place in order to evaluate work done to date and to infirm the future strategic direction.  The Council achieved high approval ratings with 85% of governing bodies and 100% of sports partnerships approving of the work of the Council.

The strategy is supported by detailed business plans across each of the key action areas, namely;  participation, high performance, communications and research.

In 2006 the Council budget is €40.9 million and a staff establishment of 25. In order to successfully complete the strategy the council requires an annual budget of €50 million and a staff establishment of 34.

The highlights of the new strategy include:
• Establish the Institute of Sport
• Complete National Roll Out of LSPs
• Anti Doping to be independent from 2009
• New structure to increase focus of increasing participation
• Highlight Research & Communications 

Building Sport for Life includes 10 key objectives. These include specific targets which will be used as the means to evaluate the work of the Council for the three year period.
Participation Rates

The Irish Sports Council aims to have more people more active in sport and by achieving that goal assist in the building of a healthier society. The Council recognises that it cannot achieve these targets working alone and will work in partnership with governing bodies, sports partnerships and other relevant agencies.

The target is to increase adult participation rates by 1.5% over the life of the strategy. This increase will be sub-divided along the following lines. Firstly, a reduction of 1.5% in the number of totally inactive adults. Secondly, an increase of 1.5% in the number of adults meeting the recommended minimum level of health-enhancing physical activity.

For children the target is to increase by 3% the numbers taking part in some level of extra curricular sport and extra school sport combined.

The research collaboration between the Irish Sports Council and the Economic and Social Research Institute provides the data against for measuring participation rates over time.

Local Sports Partnerships

The Local Sports Partnership proposal originated in the Irish Sports Council’s first organisational strategy, ”A New Era for Sport”, in 1999. A commitment to establish the partnerships was included in the 1999 Programme for Prosperity and Fairness (PPF).  The LSP Programme was developed to “create a national structure to co-ordinate and promote the development of sport at local level”. It aims to increase participation in sport by breaking down barriers and increasing both numbers of people participating and the extent of continued participation throughout the life cycle, and ensuring that local resources are used to best effects.

Between 2001 and 2004 16 partnerships were established and become operating in various locations around the country. In 2005, the Department of Arts, Sports and Tourism (DAST) commissioned Fitzpatrick Associates, Economic Consultants, to undertake a Review of the Council's Local Sports Partnership Programme. The Fitzpatrick Report was presented to the Department in October 2005. The Report endorsed the LSP concept, advising that with the implementation of specific 12 recommendations, the programme should be rolled out nationally on a phased basis.

Irish Sport Anti-Doping Programme

The Irish Sport Anti-Doping Programme will continue to protect the integrity of Irish sport through, amongst other things, the revision of the Irish Anti-Doping Rules and the implementation of internationally recognised advancements in testing procedures.
The service of sample collection will be carried out to a high quality standard under a revised system implemented fully from within the Irish Sports Council, thereby protecting the integrity of the core business of the unit. This service is being brought in-house. The Programme will ultimately move out of the Council into an independent agency, provisionally scheduled for 2009.

Irish Institute of Sport

The establishment of an Irish Institute of Sport, dedicated to the pursuit of excellence among Ireland’s leading athletes, has been Irish Sports Council policy since the publication of the High Performance Strategy in 2001. In February 2006 the Irish Sports Council approved detailed proposals on the establishment of an Institute. This report was presented to Government by Minister O’Donoghue and led to the announcement of its establishment by An Taoiseach, Mr Bertie Ahern TD, in July 2006. Sean Kelly has commenced work as Executive Chairman of the Institute. The establishment of an Institute allows for the National Coaching and Training Centre to evolve into Coaching Ireland, focusing on its role in coach education and development