Irish Sports Monitor ‘ignores minorities’
2018-05-15 13:08:12 -

The recently published Irish Sports Monitor for 2017 does not contain statistics on participation in sport by Ireland’s diverse ethnic communities.


Commissioned by Sport Ireland, the report does not include an ethnic indicator. The only reference in the document is made in the foreword by Sport Ireland chief executive John Treacy, who writes that “while it is pleasing to see [progress] we must acknowledge that considerable challenges remain if we are to ensure that the wide ranging benefits of engagement in sport are shared equitably throughout our society.


“We have made some inroads into narrowing the gender gap but we need to do even more. Perhaps even more urgent is the need to address some of the other gradients in participation, apparent again in this report, around education, income, disability and age. Our population is ageing with more ethnic variation than ever before.”


Despite this recognition, there is no mention of the participation of members of the Traveller community or other diverse ethnic groups living here, which comprise more than 20 per cent of the population.


Metro Éireann is aware that Sport Against Racism Ireland (Sari) has previously described the Irihs Sports Monitor as “a very useful tool” but that “it does not prove Sport Ireland’s claim that ‘social participation in sport is a key community bond’.


“The forging of that community spirit must include people from our diverse ethnic communities from refugees in waiting in direct provision centres, migrant workers through students from overseas to Travellers living in every county.”


Sari also pointed out that many national governing bodies in Irish sport — which are funded through the annual Sports Capital Grant — “have avoided the call to include [an] integration, inclusion and equality clause in their constitution”.


One pundit close to Metro Éireann said Sari’s advice to various Ministers of Sport over the years “has fallen on deaf ears”, and that “if sport is a vital component for the integration of people according to the Migrant Integration Strategy of the Department of Justice and Equality, it is incumbent on Sport Ireland to monitor the participation rates of one-fifth of the population of the State and to identify barriers that prevent full engagement.”

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