For the decade 2002-2011 a total of €1.38bn was spent on sport in Ireland by the Department of "Sport". Currently, sport is included in the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and it was previously under the Department of Arts, Sports and Tourism. It is this expenditure that we classify here as Exchequer expenditure on sport (it is known as Voted expenditure). It does not include funding via other government departments or via Local Authorities.
Table 1 presents the Exchequer expenditure on sport and its decomposition for the period 2002-11. The amount is €1.38bn excluding the Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund (HGRF) and it rises to €2.05bn. It is debatable whether HGRF should be included. Even the government seems to be unsure about the correct classification of the HGRF. For almost half the decade 2002-11 public expenditure on the HGRF was included in the sports vote where as in the other years it was included in the Department of Agriculture vote. While what follows will exclude HGRF as sports expenditure it is worth briefly comparing the expenditure on the HGRF and that given the Irish Sports Council (ISC). Table 1 shows that current expenditure on HGRF was bigger than that for the ISC.
The annual amount given to sport varied over the decade. The variation tended to be driven by once-off capital projects like the redevelopment of Lansdowne Road and the boom-bust cycle of recent patterns of expenditure by Irish governments. The increase and decrease in time profile of the expenditure in Table 1 are presented in Figure 1. For ease of comparison, the amounts are normalised to 100 for the first year of the decade under consideration.
The relative constants in Figure 2 are the Irish Sports Council, Grants to Sporting Bodies, and Grants for Swimming Pools. The patterns in Figure 2 suggest that the Irish Sports Council is getting an increasing share of the sports allocation particularly since 2009. This is correct. However, it should be remembered that its share is increasing as the overall expenditure on sport is declining. In fact, the ISC share of sports expenditure since 2009 is increasing while the actual amount given to the ISC is declining. In 2009 the ISC received €51.7 and this declined to €44.5m in 2011.