Irish Sports Council: ISC Announces €9million High Performance Package

15 focus sports will receive €5.935 million for their high performance plans Athletes and teams will receive €2.213 million under the Carding Scheme Additional €935,000 for Irish Institute of Sport Programmes Total of €30.06 million invested in this Olympic & Paralympic cycle

The Minister for Sport Mr Seamus Brennan T.D. announced yesterday (February 13) details of the Irish Sports Council’s investment in excess of €9 million in high performance sport bringing to over €30 million the total investment in high performance sport in this Olympic and Paralympic cycle.

In the critical Olympic and Paralympic year every athlete representing Ireland in Beijing will be comprehensively supported. The two established schemes of Performance Planning coupled with the International Carding Scheme will ensure that the best possible supports in every aspect of preparation and training are offered to elite athletes. They will be augmented by a series of new programmes to be introduced in 2008 by the Irish Institute of Sport; each offering practical and significant benefits to Ireland’s sporting elite.

The International Carding Scheme is well established and remains a central pillar of the support system with 255 athletes (and four teams) from junior to contracted world class level supported in 2008 to the tune of €2.213million. For the first time the International Carding Scheme is the direct responsibility of the Institute as it assumes responsibility for services and funding for Ireland’s elite Irish athletes.

The carding scheme is augmented by the Performance Plan programme consisting of each sport’s specific elite campaigns from junior right through to world class level. Almost €6million is invested in the performance planning programme this year.

Designed and implemented by a Performance Director through a series of discussions with the Irish Sports Council and the Irish Institute of Sport the plans cover training camps, competition requirements, coaching, sports science and medical support and equipment requirements. Performance Directors ensure that the Carding Scheme and Performance Plans are complementary and, overseeing both schemes, ensure elite athletes are supported across all the financial and non-financial aspects of their programmes.

Ireland’s elite male and female amateur golfers also receive significant support in the Performance Planning programme through the Golfing Union of Ireland and Irish Ladies Golf Union plans.

The Irish Institute of Sport has set out an ambitious programme of activity for 2008. A Performance Athlete Scholarship Scheme (PASS) will be the flagship lifestyle programme for the Institute this year, alongside a Career Development programme that is already being piloted, a Quality Assurance scheme for service providers, an applied research programme, and the development of a web based injury management system.

To an invited audience of athletes and performance directors, the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Mr. Seamus Brennan TD, made the announcement, with the package which comprises €5.935 million for high performance plans, €2.213 million under the International Carding Scheme and an additional €935,000 for new programmes being rolled out in 2008 by the Irish Institute of Sport.

“We are building a high performance system that we can be proud of in Ireland. Obviously the work comes into focus in an Olympic and Paralympic year. I am satisfied that every athlete that will represent Ireland in Beijing in 2008 has been provided with the best support possible. Preparation for Beijing started four years ago and we must get behind the athletes and let them know we are proud of their achievements and will support them as representative of Ireland” said Minister Brennan.

Ossie Kilkenny Chairman of the Irish Sports Council commented: “The Council is investing significant sums into Irish elite sport. It is using the investment to bring about significant and rapid improvements in the way athletes are supported. Crucially this has been done through strong collaborations in the sports system, with the Minister and our colleagues in the Department who provide the funds, with the sports who put in place the new systems and deliver the programmes and the coaches, athletes and support personnel who are implementing the programmes daily”.

Sean Kelly, Executive Chairman of the Irish Institute of Sport said at the launch event: “The Institute is up and running and we have set out a clear work programme for 2008. We will work with coaches, athletes and all the support personnel throughout this vital year to ensure that they have everything they require to maximise their performances. The Institute will also be rolling out a number of exciting programmes that will bring practical and significant benefits to our performers. The Institute is about delivery and getting things done. These programmes have been talked about for a long time but we want to move on and deliver them now, and if we do so over the year it will be a fine 12 months work”.

John Treacy, Chief Executive of the Irish Sports Council, speaking at the event, said “The three strands of support; Performance Plans, Carding and the Institute programmes ensure that our athletes have a comprehensive support network for their entire sports career. As a former athlete I understand how crucial that total support is. I’m confident the system in place actively supports our athletes and significantly enhances their chances of success on the international stage”.

Cycling Ireland



Dermot Nally



Paul Healion



Mark Cassidy



Philip Deignan



Robin Seymour



Nicolas Roche



David McCann



Brian Kenneally



David O’Loughlin



Paidi O’Brien



Enda Smyth

International Disability


Cathal Miller

International Disability


Michael Delaney

International Disability


David Peelo

Pilot Rider for M. Delaney


Catherine Walsh

International Disability


Joanna Hickey

Pilot Rider for C. Walsh



Squad (7)

Developmental Allocation
(max 5,000 each)


Daniel Martin

Developmental Criteria


Connor McConvey

Developmental Criteria


Isaac Spiers

Developmental Criteria


Ronan McLaughlin

Developmental Criteria


Denis Dunworth

Developmental Criteria


Niall Davis

Developmental Criteria


Kieran Leahy

Developmental Criteria


Junior Squad (2)

Junior Allocation
(max 3,000 each)


Sam Bennett

Junior Criteria


Liam McGreevy

Junior Criteria




Additional Information:
The International Carding Scheme 2008

The International Carding Scheme was introduced in 1998 to provide a range of supports, both financial and non-financial, to assist Ireland’s most talented players and athletes realise their potential at the highest international levels. The Scheme is designed to support talent from the junior ranks right up through the elite pathway. The majority of Irish athletes competing at the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Beijing have been supported on the Scheme since their days in the junior ranks.

This year 255 athletes, three hockey squads and the Cerebral Palsy football team are supported under the scheme. They cover 20 sports bodies, including four Paralympic sports. Those supported include 11 Contracted, 20 World Class and 71 International Class athletes*. Other recent innovations on the Scheme, such as performance incentive payments (PIPS) have been retained in 2008. There are 56 development athletes across 11 sports and 96 juniors in 13 sports who are supported as part of a squad.

The Scheme was initially designed to provide financial support to those athletes who need such assistance to meet necessary out of pocket expenses related to training, coaching, competition and general living expenses not otherwise covered by their National Governing Body (NGB). However, the Performance Plans now cover those expenses leaving the carding allocations to cover each athlete’s day to day living costs.

2008 is the first year that the Scheme is fully operated by the Irish Institute of Sport. A key feature of the Scheme is the provision of a network of service providers nationally and internationally such as physiologists, sports psychologists, biomechanists, physiotherapists, doctors and so on. All Carded athletes are entitled to access to these services free of charge. The value of these services to each athlete amounts to approximately €3,000 each year. That non-financial aspect of the Scheme is coordinated and administered by the National Coaching and Training Centre. Those functions will be transferred to the Institute by 2009.

Criteria for qualification onto the Scheme are agreed on a sport-by-sport basis with the relevant governing body. Any athlete who meets the relevant criteria is automatically included on the scheme.

*There are five categories of support on the scheme; junior being the entry point on the scheme, developmental is the next step up, International represents those athletes likely to compete at the Olympic or Paralympic Games, World Class represents those athletes with the ability to reach Olympic and Paralympic finals, with contracted representing medal zone athletes at the highest level.

Performance Planning Programme 2008
The performance planning system evolved out of the Athens Enhancement programme which commenced in 2002. The Irish Sports Council finances detailed training and competition plans which are designed and implemented by a Performance Director in discussion with the Council and the Institute. These plans address every aspect of the preparation for elite competition and cover juniors right up through the pathway to world class performers.

The sport specific plans contain details of training and competition schedules, coaching and other support staff requirements, integrated sports science and medicine provision and specialist equipment needs. The plans detail performance targets for their potential Olympic and Paralympic athletes.

The process undertaken for 2008 has been similar to previous years, involving the completion of a planning template and one-to-one follow up meetings between the sport, the Council and the Institute to refine applications. This process has also been enhanced by the information gathered and analysed through the quarterly monitoring and evaluation meetings between all the parties.

Governing Body

Plan Allocation

Carding Scheme

Athletics Association of Ireland



Badminton Ireland



Irish Amateur Boxing Association



Irish Canoe Union



Cycling Ireland



Irish Amateur Fencing Federation



Irish Hockey Association



Irish Clay Pigeon Shooting Association



Irish Amateur Rowing Union



Irish Sailing Association



Swim Ireland



Tennis Ireland



Paralympic Council of Ireland



Golf Union of Ireland



Irish Ladies Golf Union



Triathlon Ireland



Irish Table Tennis Association



Irish Taekwondo Union



Irish Judo Association




€5.935 million*

€2.213 million

*€800,000 of this allocation was pre-paid in Dec 2007

Cycling Ireland
Performance Plan: €405,000
Carding: €155,000

Last year Cycling Ireland focused on the development of a track programme led by Simon Jones; former head coach UK track cycling and implemented by Irish coach Tommy Evans as well as rolling out its mountain bike and road programme. The squad has progressed over the year knocking six seconds off its time and moving within striking distance of an Olympic qualification place. David O’Loughlin has led the charge for an individual pursuit spot at the Games.

Building on the success of the track programme Cycling Ireland’s plan focuses on developing generic track based programmes at junior level. The track team and individuals will also be supported in their pursuit for Olympic qualification with the key events being the upcoming World Cup in Copenhagen where they can qualify for the World Championships in Manchester in March.

Cycling Ireland has already qualified one nation place in Mountain Bike and two in the road race for the Olympic Games and these athletes will also be supported through the plan.


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