Participation in sport and physical activity across Kildare is set to vastly increase across all age groups, Fine Gael TD Martin Heydon has said.


Deputy Heydon said for the next decade, the Government has set ambitious targets, as part of the National Sports Policy 2018 -2027, which will greatly benefit communities across Kildare including:


  • Sharing of sports facilities between clubs will be prioritised for funding
  • Sports Capital Programme to be run annually
  • Immediate acceleration of Women in Sports Programme
  • Multi-sport, multi-use facilities will also be prioritised
  • A commitment to double State investment in sport from €111m in 2018 to €220m in 2027


“This National Sports Policy will prove to be a roadmap for sports across Kildare over the next ten years. It has three high-level goals. These are increased participation in sport and physical activity, more excellence from our high performance athletes and improved capacity of National Governing Bodies (NGBs) and Local Sports Partnerships (LSPs) to deliver sport and physical activity programmes.


“One of the main targets for achievement by the State by 2027 is to have overall participation in sport and physical activity to rise from 43% to 50% of the country’s population (an extra 250,000 people).


“In simple terms, this will mean more people, of all ages, taking part in sporting activities across Kildare This can only be good for people in terms of their health (physical and mental) and wellbeing and will boost community spirit across Kildare. Physical inactivity costs the taxpayers an estimated €1.5bn a year.


“We are very proud of our sporting traditions and successes in Kildare. Any bid, supported by the necessary State funds, to achieve future worldwide success at major events for athletes representing their country could result in the next Sonia O’Sullivan, Robert Heffernan, Jonny Sexton or Katie Taylor emerging from one of our communities.


“There is now a drive to match high performance funding with comparator nations like New Zealand and achieve more medals at international events through increased funding.


“In the near future, there will be an immediate acceleration of Women in Sport Programme with a double annual funding provision to €2m. The plan includes that all 65 NGBs, all 29 LSPs and around 12,000 sports clubs nationwide, including all clubs here in Kildare, will adopt the governance code for community, voluntary and charity (CVC) sector.”


“I’ll be continuing to work with my government colleagues, Ministers Shane Ross and Brendan Griffin, to ensure that the sporting communities of Kildare are adequately catered for.


“The publication of this policy is an important milestone for the Irish sporting community and sets out a Vision for Irish Sport in 2027, along with 57 actions to transform our sporting landscape over the next decade. Increasing participation is the cornerstone of this policy.


“We want to see every citizen engaging regularly in some form of sport and physical activity, irrespective of their background or their physical capabilities.” Deputy Heydon said.


Minister Griffin outlined the ambitions of the Government’s National Sports Policy 2018–2027 to significantly improve the sporting landscape in this country: “The benefits of sport and physical activity to our population are clear and sport is a valuable asset to communities across the country.


“The availability of quality sports facilities is key to raising standards and Government investment in recent years at the National Sports Campus and throughout the country is proof of our commitment to sustaining this investment to our sporting infrastructure.”