Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: Derval O'Rourke goes head to head with Athletics Ireland over funding

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Derval O'Rourke goes head to head with Athletics Ireland over funding

First a bit of background info to this story.

As outlined in this previous post, the grants to Irish athletes for 2014 were announced in mid February. One of the suprises was that both Derval O'Rourke and Ciarán Ó Lionáird both got just €12k despite winning medals at the European Indoor Championships in 2013. (Derval O'Rourke finished 4th in the womens 60m hurdles but the Turkish athlete Nevin Yanit failed a drugs test later in the year.)

Fionnuala Britton World Class (€20k)....(2013 = €20k, 2012 = €20k)
Ciarán Ó Lionáird International (€12K)...(2013 = €20k, 2012 = €20k).
Derval O’Rourke International (€12K)...(2013 = €12k, 2012 = €40k).

Two interesting articles appeared in the Irish Examiner last week about the funding for Irish athletes.

In the first one dated Tuesday the 25th of February 2014, Derval O'Rourke outlines her point of view that the 11 athletes that are getting grants are only getting a fraction of total grant given to Athletics Ireland.

In the article she says...."What strikes me as unfair, perhaps even hypocritical, is the funding which is allocated directly to athletes is the only part of the €968,000 (€800,000 from the Irish Sports Council) which is accounted for down to the last euro and every recipient is named."

In particular, she focuses on the salary of the three high performance staff who get more than the 11 athletes combined. She writes...."That means the cost of three support staff (High Performance director, team coordinator and athlete services coordinator) far outweighs the 11 athletes’ direct funding and unlike the athletes’ incomes, this information is much more difficult to access and certainly salaries and names are not listed."

The pie charts below help show the relative amounts being discussed. The left one shows the funding that the 11 athletes get relative to the total grant given to Athletics Ireland by the Irish Sports Council. The right one shows the comparison between what the 11 athletes got compared to the three high performance staff.

The reply from Athletics Ireland came on Friday the 28th of February 2014 

In it, the High Performance director Kevin Ankrom says...“An athlete may be given €12,000, but at the end of the day it is just cash in hand. They are getting much more on top of that in travel, services and competition. I had a discussion with Derval in November and December moving forward, I told her I supported her and I wanted to help. I laid out that this is what you have achieved, this is what we will fund you at and then on top of that, €12,000 isn’t €12,000. If you look at the €8,000 for her surgery, that is €20,000 right there alone.”

If you click on the links above, you can read both points of view and make up your own mind.


Anonymous said...

Be interesting to see a full list of exact "extras" that are paid for on top of the grant

robert hamill said...

whats your take on it john?

John Desmond said...

My main reason for putting the story up was that a lot if not most people won't have read the articles in the Examiner and might be interested in the issue.

As with most things, there is always two sides to a story but it does seem a bit unfair for someone to win a medal at a major European athletics championships in 2013 and then to get their grant cut the following year.

Anonymous said...

it might come across as simplistic or even cranky but it doesnt seem to matter what the arena is in this country, public money gets ploughed into national organisations/bodies/ charities but when it comes to the percentage that eventually trickles through to the intended targeted recipient, it seems almost tokenistic at that stage. We have a national culture of creaming as much as we can from these situations whether its through 'management' 'consulting' 'administration fees' the list goes on..... had hoped the imf in town would begin to address this but we seem to have dodged that one. I feel sorry for the current and future athletes in this situation, it shows what we really value when they are treated in this way

Anonymous said...

Ken Egan got 12000 last year even though he had retired. So make sense of the grant system.