Thursday, 29 September 2011
Dáil Éireann Debate
218. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the extent to which it is expected that the sporting sector can positively assist economic recovery; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26800/11]
Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Michael Ring): 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. Sport and sport-related activities support over 38,000 full-time equivalent jobs.
Participation in sport can also bring benefits in terms of health and well-being which can in turn produce an economic dividend through reducing costs to the health service. There is 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 Stadium 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. The “Assessment of Economic Impact of Sport in Ireland” report which was prepared for the Irish Sports Council last year states that Government investment plays an important role in supporting and driving the wider economic benefits of sport. This assessment demonstrates that there is a very significant return on Government investment and expenditure on sport in Ireland. For every €100 of Government expenditure, the Government receives approximately €149 back in the form of taxes and other income arising from sport-related economic activity.
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