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Cycling Ireland Welcomes Women in Sport Funding Increase



Sport Ireland today announced an investment in its Women in Sport Programme of €4million over the two years 2021 and 2022. This investment aims to support NGBs and enhance all aspects of female involvement across the Women in Sport policy target areas namely, Coaching & Officiating, Active Participation, Leadership & Governance and Visibility.


Recognising that effective and sustainable programmes require a long-term approach, Sport Ireland is committed to a two-year Women in Sport investment cycle. The continuation of this two year award cycle will enable NGBs to further progress their strategic objectives for women in sport.


Cycling Ireland has welcomed a 40% increase in funding for the Cycling Ireland Women in Sport programme from €100,000 to €140,000 over a 2-year period. The investment will support in the delivery of objectives outlined within Cycling Ireland's 2020-2024 Strategic Plan under the 'Participate' and 'Enable' pillars.


Cycling Ireland Women in Sport Officer, Elaine Cahill added;

"We are delighted to once again receive funding from Sport Ireland to support our Bike Like Me campaignOver the past two years we have worked hard to engage more women and girls across four target areas; Active Participation, Coaching and Officiating, Leadership & Governance and Visibility. Despite the global pandemic, the past two years have been incredibly successful for the campaign. We are looking forward to continuing on with our success and we’re currently busy planning HER Outdoors Week, a new initiative from Sport Ireland which will take place between 9th – 15th August. We look forward to working with clubs, commissions and the wider cycling community to highlight each of the cycling disciplines during this week."


Highlights of Cycling Ireland's Women in Sport programme include:

  • 1,800 female participants complete online training programmes
  • 8 female coaches complete Coach Development Programme
  • Club Toolkit developed and Workshops delivered to help engage and retain women and girls
  • 12 Bike Like Me Advocates championing women's cycling in their communities


Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin TD welcomed today’s announcement, stating:

“Addressing the participation gap in sport and physical activity for women and girls is a priority of the National Sports Policy 2018-2027. In recent years we have seen some improvements in this area. The Government and Sport Ireland are committed to continuing this work with the aim of eliminating the participation gap by 2027. While the interim Q1 2021 Irish Sports Monitor, published by Sport Ireland, shows that the gender gap in participation has been eliminated during Covid-19 restrictions, there is a lot of work to do to ensure that more women and girls participate in sport and physical activity. As we gradually re-open society we must work to ensure sport and physical activity become a meaningful part of the day-to-day lives of all women in society”.


Minister of State for the Gaeltacht & Sport Jack Chambers TD commented:

“The previous cycle of Women in Sport funding saw significant strategic advancements in the promotion of Women in Sport. Despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, progress was made on many of the strategic objectives set out in the Women in Sport Policy. We are seeing the results of this work in the participation figures and also importantly in the board composition of NGBs, with an increase from 24% of females serving on NGB boards in 2019 to 29% in 2020. There is still a long way to go to improving these figures but the funding announced today will go towards promoting more involvement in sport and physical activity at all levels, from the pitch to the boardroom”. 


Funding will be ring-fenced under Women in Sport for strategically important internal and NGB related events and projects under the ‘Special Projects’ funding. This may also be used to support organisations who did not apply for funding support in the current round.


In 2020, the sector delivered on a number of objectives set out in the Women in Sport policy and there were many projects of note throughout the year. The Women in Sport Leadership programme rolled out by Swim Ireland was completed by 100 women from 24 NGBs who were supported and enabled to step into positions of authority in sport; Rowing Ireland coordinated a bespoke coaching programme involving four NGBs for female coaches on the pathway to high performance coaching and programmes such as Golf Ireland “Level Par” and Tennis Ireland’s “Equal Advantage” were established to ensure equality and balance in the respective sports.


Chief Executive of Sport Ireland John Treacy added:

“The appointment of Nora Stapleton as Women in Sport Lead in Sport Ireland, as well as the appointment of leads in many NGBs has led to the creation of a network with increased levels of information sharing, collaboration and delivery of joint initiatives amongst the sector. This network, along with the wider NGB sector are working hard to promote sport and physical activity to women and girls. The funding announced today will not only see a diverse range of sports available to the female Irish public but an increase in the visibility of females be that as role models on the pitch or playing field, on boards or in the media. It is important that we work together to achieve the ambitious targets and I would like to acknowledge the continued support of the Ministers and staff in the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media”.


Dr. Una May, Director of Participation and Ethics, Sport Ireland commented:

“The Women in Sport funding announced today will give the NGBs support and certainty to proceed with their programmes to address the target areas of the Women in Sport policy. In 2020 we saw some exciting and innovative approaches to Women in Sport including the first ever Girls Get Active Hackathon and the publication of significant pieces of research. There is a lot more planned for 2021 and beyond and we continue to work closely with the sector to achieve the objectives of the Policy”.


Speaking at today’s announcement, Women in Sport Lead Nora Stapleton said:

“2020 was a difficult year and like all areas across the sector, many Women in Sport programmes and events were curtailed or had to be redesigned. Many programmes will continue in to 2021 and the NGBs have submitted applications for many new, innovative and exciting projects for the next cycle and I look forward to working with them”.