If local and community based sporting clubs are to survive the Covid-19 lockdown and have a future, the Government must establish a support fund, as traditional income streams have ceased.
This is the view of Fine Gael Galway City West councillor, Clodagh Higgins, who is calling on the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, and the Minister for Transport, Tourism, and Sport, Shane Ross, to establish a fund to ensure the survival of sporting clubs post-Covid19.
Cllr Higgins said many small clubs depend on a variety of income streams in order to remain in existence, such as sports camps and tournaments, especially during the summer months, as well as renting out rooms and pitches.
'The essence of community is best represented by our sports clubs and we need to help them adapt to the challenges they face' - Cllr Clodagh Higgins
"These represented an essential revenue stream," she said. "Worse still, clubs have the added pressure of not knowing who will be in a position to sponsor teams as they were usually supported by local businesses and the majority of these are struggling."
Cllr Higgins said it was "imperative that we protect our sporting community in Galway" as they provide "essential amenities to our youth". She also said it was important to remember that, at the onset of the pandemic, such clubs "willingly played their part", such as those in the GAA who volunteered their facilities to the health authorities.
"I also know of senior club members who are providing grinds to second level students and volunteering with various covid-19 voluntary groups," she said. "The essence of community is best represented by our sports clubs and we need to help them adapt to the challenges they face and ultimately, help them survive."