Opinion: West is awake while Dublin is asleep


Kerry Motor Club is set to receive €1,500 in funding that will help it offset any future costs incurred because of COVID-19 restrictions thanks to a funding announcement by Sport Ireland.

This is, indeed, good news. If the club gets the green light to run the Circuit of Kerry in April or any other event next year it won’t be faced with crippling costs associated with making an event or venue coronavirus safe. 

It is a welcome boost and one that will instil confidence in club management when it comes to financial decisions ahead of any future event.

Kerry Motor Club is a member of Kerry County Council’s Kerry Public Participation Network (PPN), an umbrella group for all volunteer, sporting or otherwise, organisations in the county. 

Through its membership to PPN the club was invited to submit an application for funding “to address significant COVID-19 related losses,” 

This week’s grant allocation will go a long way towards making the club’s events as safe as possible in this coronavirus world we now live in. 

A wide range of local Kerry sports organizations are benefitting to the tune of over €74k. 

This funding will support up to 59 local grass roots organisations from the ever popular GAA clubs to rowing and cycling clubs. 

The local grants were the first phase of funding announced on Monday. 

Details of a second, national, funding scheme were released after the local funding was announced. 

Another €64 million has been allocated to National Governing Bodies to safeguard the future of nearly all sports across the country. 

The funding is being allocated by Sport Ireland and will address the existential threat to National Governing Bodies and their club networks. 

It is no surprise that the big three, GAA, rugby and soccer got the most of this funding – the GAA alone got €30,795,000, nearly half of the total allocation.  

I don’t begrudge the GAA this allocation – there is a GAA club in every parish in Ireland and they do have national and county stadiums that need to be made COVID-19 safe. 

Motor Clubs on the other hand, have two, maybe three per county and do not, by in large, own permanent stadiums – certainly not in this part of the country anyway. 

It seems that every Governing Body got something – road bowling at the other end of the list will receive €12,500 to allow it safeguard its members and future. 

There is at least one governing body missing off this list. Motorsport Ireland did not receive a penny. 

Now, I don’t know if motorsport’s governing body made an application or not, or if that application was rejected, but considering Kerry Motor Club got funding off its own bat, and every other governing body got some share of the spoils, it seems that Motorsport Ireland has dropped the ball big time here. 

Kerry Motorsport News did ask Motorsport Ireland for a comment on this earlier today, but hours later there has yet to be a response. I will publish it when it comes. 

Motorcycling Ireland, the governing body of two-wheeled sport in the country will receive €50,000 while Cycling Ireland is in line to get €500,000.

Motorsport will get nothing.

This is the second time in a week that a small regional motor club has proven to be miles ahead of its governing body. 

Last week, Kerry Motor Club became the first motor club in Ireland, to sign the 20×20 Charter, a nationwide scheme to encourage more women get involved in sport   –  any sport, not just motor racing – and it received unprecedented media coverage on the back of this news.

Kerry Motor Club was invited to apply for 20×20 recognition by the Kerry Public Participation Network ahead of the scheme deadline in late October. 

Motorsport Ireland is a member of 20×20.

I will harbour a guess that MI did not invite any club to participate in 20×20. If that was the case there is no way Kerry would have been the first motor club to gain accreditation. Since Kerry’s news release last week, there have been no further announcements. 

It is plain to see there is nothing happening in our sport right now – but that does not mean we all sit around and do nothing – now is the time to prepare for our return to the sport we love. 

Kerry Motor Club’s activity behind the scenes, in recent weeks, means the club is more than ready.

Could the same be said about the governing body?

It seems the South West is wide awake but Dublin is sleeping.

DISCLAIMER: Sean Moriarty, the writer of this article, is a member of Kerry Motor Club. These are his views and not necessarily those of the club. 

He did play parts in the club’s applications for PPN funding and the 20×20 scheme application. 

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