Wednesday, 24 November 2010
Dáil Éireann Debate
118. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport her plans to develop and utilise the sporting and leisure sectors in the next four years with emphasis on job creation and job retention; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44438/10]
Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport (Deputy Mary Hanafin): Safeguarding existing jobs and supporting job creation can only be achieved by promoting the robustness and vibrancy of the sector. I have sought at every opportunity to do just that. The sports sector is a major contributor to the economy, a contribution which includes sports tourism, ticket sales, subscriptions and the cost of playing sport, together with the purchase of sports equipment and an economic value of time given by volunteers. There is also a very extensive financial dividend to be obtained through the success of major sporting events, particularly those with an international dimension. Through a variety of actions and investments Ireland is developing an enviable reputation as a destination to play and watch sports. Stadia such the Aviva, Croke Park, Semple and Thomond Park attract international and domestic tourists in large numbers throughout the year.
The targeting of major international sporting events such as the Ryder and Solheim Cups in golf, the Volvo Ocean Race and the Irish Open golf tournament attracts tourists and also showcases the country in the best possible light. In 2008 DKM economic consultants valued the ongoing economic benefit of Croke Park to be approximately €46 million to Dublin each year. A study by BDO Simpson Xavier showed that a single rugby match at Thomond park was worth almost €10.5m to the Limerick Economy; with as single concert worth at least €9.9m. Since it opened in late 2008 Thomond Park has contributed more than €131 m to the economy of the Limerick city region.
The Irish Sports Council, through its grant funding to the National Governing Bodies, supports a large number of jobs throughout the country. The Department’s capital expenditure, through its Sports Capital Programme and Local Authority Swimming Pool Programme, is also a major contributor to employment. A typical newly opened swimming pool employs 24 staff while during the construction phase of the pool some 350 people would be employed. Based on analysis by the Department, each €27,000 allocated under the Sports Capital Programme supports a single job in the construction sector. For example, in 2009 alone, the SCP supported over 2,200 full-time equivalent jobs in the construction sector. I remain in ongoing contact and consultation with the key stakeholders so that our responses to the needs of the sector remain current, proportionate, targeted and effective.
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