For Oral Answer on : 24/03/2022
Question Number(s): 138 Question Reference(s): 15368/22
Department: Foreign Affairs
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs his Department’s support for a programme (details supplied).; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Details Supplied) GAA’s Global Games Development Programme
The Global Games Development Fund is a matching funding partnership between the Department of Foreign Affairs and the GAA to promote and support community orientated GAA activities abroad.
First established in 2012, the Fund has been remarkably successful, helping both the development of Gaelic Games internationally and benefiting hundreds of local Irish communities in which the games development projects are located. From 14 local projects supported in 2013, the programme has grown greatly and this year will support over 100 different projects right across the world. The funding my Department makes available from the Government’s Emigrant Support Programme has grown in response to that demand, from €45,000 in 2013 to €200,000 this year.
The strength and resilience of the programme was amply demonstrated in the response to the Covid-19 pandemic, when our international GAA partner clubs and networks along with our Irish Community Welfare Support Organizations became the backbone for the delivery of assistance and support to our emigrants, including through the Government’s dedicated Covid Response Fund. I would like to avail of this opportunity to pay tribute to those efforts, much of which was done in a voluntary capacity.
10 years on from its launch, my Department and the GAA sat down to review the operation and objectives of the Programme, in particular, how to build on the experience gained during the pandemic.
I was very pleased to be able to announce the outcome of our renewed partnership with the President of the GAA in Croke Park on Tuesday 8 March. We agreed to re-focus our support on grass root activity; to concentrate assistance on the small, local community clubs; to increase the focus on youth involvement; as well as sponsoring the regional tournaments that have become a show-case for the games at international level. We will continue to expand the programme to reflect the changing patterns of Irish emigration, such as in Asia, Canada and the Middle East. On the administration side, we agreed to build-up the support of Croke Park’s central management on delivery and to strengthen our financial control procedures in line with the growth of the programme.
Some of the projects being funded are one-off events, others have elements lasting the course of a year, and each are identified through an Open Call mechanism conducted by GAA HQ. The applications are screened at a regional level by the GAA and funding decisions are taken jointly by a team from GAA HQ and officials of my Department.
As our communities abroad emerge from the shadow of Covid, the Government stands ready through a strengthened Global Games Development Fund, and sister programmes within the Emigrant Support Programme, to help them restore their community infrastructure, activities and networks. I was heartened to see for myself, and to hear from colleagues who participated in this year’s St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, the degree to which our communities abroad have been able to recover from the challenges they have had to overcome during the past two difficult years.