The OFI say the funding boost will be welcome news for athletes ©OFI

Olympic Federation of Ireland (OFI) has welcomed the Government’s announcement that Sport Ireland will receive an additional €36 million (£32 million/$42 million) in funding next year.

The OFI said the funding will help to ensure sport can emerge from the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The funding has been seen as providing some protection for sport, enabling growth and international success in the future.

The additional €36 million takes Sport Ireland’s overall budget for 2021 to €104.5 million (£94 million/$122 million).

The funding announced by the Ministers is in addition to the €70 million (£63.5 million/$82 million) in COVID-19 related support committed to the sport sector in July 2020.

Allocation of this funding will be announced in the coming weeks.

OFI chief executive Peter Sherrand said the funding will be welcomed by the athlete community, as they continue to prepare for the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paris 2024.

"I thank the Government, Minister Catherine Martin and Minister Jack Chambers for today’s budget announcement," Sherrand said.

"We understand that this additional contribution to Sport Ireland will provide much needed support for the sector and will allow continued planning for high performance athletes ahead of next year’s Tokyo Olympic Games and the Paris 2024 cycle.

"This is welcome news for our athlete community who deserve our support and are working tirelessly to represent Ireland on the global stage."

The OFI said its Board welcomed the long-term planning that is now being applied to sport through the National Sports Policy.

The organisation said that the budget announcement was welcomed in allowing for the delivery of those policy commitments and affording some protection to the sector at this critical time.

Sport Ireland’s allocation will include €9.7 million (£8.8 million/$11.3 million) for the ongoing development of the Sport Ireland Campus.

Sport Ireland chairman Kieran Mulvey said the funding will be a boost for National Governing Bodies.

"Like all areas of society, the impact of COVID-19 and associated restrictions have had a substantial impact on the sporting landscape," Mulvey said.

"National Governing Bodies, clubs and groups all over Ireland have seen their activities significantly curtailed in 2020, which has in turn placed a financial burden on most, if not all.

"The acknowledgement of this by Government is to be welcomed by both Sport Ireland and the National Governing Bodies.

"The funding announced will provide a significant boost to the National Governing Body sector.

"Sport Ireland is a key delivery agent of the Government’s National Sports Policy 2018-2027.

"While the increase in funding continues the commitment to double funding for sport over the life-course of the policy, the additional funding will enable Sport Ireland to continue to make progress in delivering on the actions of the policy."