Cricket: Funding

Oral Answers to Questions – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:30 pm on 28th May 2012.

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Photo of Jim Wells Jim Wells DUP 2:30 pm, 28th May 2012

1. asked the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure how much funding has been allocated to cricket over the past five years. (AQO 2046/11-15)

Photo of Carál Ní Chuilín Carál Ní Chuilín Sinn Féin

Sport NI is responsible for the distribution of funding for sport here. In the past five financial years, Sport NI has provided almost £4 million of Exchequer and lottery funding to Cricket Ireland to assist with the development of cricket. As part of that funding, Sport NI is supporting the employment of a club development manager by the governing body of cricket, Cricket Ireland. That manager is based in Belfast and is responsible for providing advice and guidance to cricket at all levels on development and funding opportunities.

Photo of Jim Wells Jim Wells DUP

As the Minister is aware, several players from this part of the United Kingdom have played for the Ireland cricket team. Indeed, that team had historic wins over Test-playing nations such as Zimbabwe, England and Pakistan. Cricket is clearly a growing sport, yet would she agree with me that the amount of funding that has been allocated to this international sport is tiny in comparison with that allocated to, for instance, rugby, GAA and soccer?

Photo of Carál Ní Chuilín Carál Ní Chuilín Sinn Féin

I share with the Member his concerns about perhaps the feeling that cricket receives smaller amounts of funding compared with other sports. However, it is only in recent times with the success of the cricket team that we are all enjoying and, indeed, supporting that team. I would imagine in future CSR bids that perhaps the amount of money to cricket will increase.

Photo of Cathal Ó hOisín Cathal Ó hOisín Sinn Féin

Go raibh maith agat, a Phríomh-LeasCheann Comhairle. Will the Minister assure us that the opportunities for funding for all sports, including cricket, will be made known to the grass roots groupings and clubs?

Photo of Carál Ní Chuilín Carál Ní Chuilín Sinn Féin

I will. I do share some of the concerns that have been repeated throughout Question Time on this. Cricket, like other sports, is receiving quite a lot of interest, and it is important that people who want to get involved in sport have the opportunity to do so. We will be focusing, particularly with grass roots clubs and within communities, to try to provide support that will result in a bigger uptake in sport. It is important that I keep that under review.