The Irish Sports Council’s (ISC) headline €40,000 grants could become extinct next year as the government agency faces up to a second and third consecutive year of 5% funding cuts in 2013 and 2014.
The sports council have named 24 ‘podium’ athletes on the highest rung of funding for 2012 this week but high-performance grants will no longer be given the protection from Government cuts that they enjoyed this year, in the run-up to the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.
Reluctant to reduce the number of individual athletes they support, one way High Performance chiefs are considering coping with the cuts is by lowering the €40,000, €20,000 and €12,000 strands – no publicly-funded athlete would dare speak out against losing five per cent or ten per cent of their money in the midst of a devastating recession.
ISC chief executive John Treacy admitted this week that his staff now numbers 27 and is likely to be reduced to 25 over the next two years, a big drop from the Celtic Tiger period peak of 31 full-time employees. Conscious of how this year’s five per cent funding cut could have impacted on the London 2012 effort, Treacy left the High Performance elite untouched but said: ”I don’t think we can protect it next year.”