The incoming Coalition Government has indeed decided to make significant changes to the Sports brief as the new Cabinet was introduced to the Nation this evening.
The ‘until now’ Department of Tourism, Culture and Sport has , like many others been ‘broken up’ so Sport now forms part of the new Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, arguably one of the country’s most prestigious and vital Ministries . So who is our new Sports supremo? Leo Varadkar, TD.
Dr Leo Varadkar,is a 32 years old who was elected TD for Dublin West and has previously been Fine Gael Spokesperson on Communications and Energy. He was elected to the 30th Dáil on May 24, 2007 and was initially appointed to the Fine Gael Front Bench as Spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade and Employment. In June 2010, he was appointed to the Communications, Energy and Natural Resources portfolio .In his relatively short time in Dail, Leo has become one of Fine Gael’s most prominent spokesmen.
Among the many causes he has fought, Leo has led a campaign against waste and mismanagement in FAS, the national training agency .He was born and brought up in the Blanchardstown/Castleknock area. He studied medicine in Trinity College earning a BA, BAO, BCh and MB in 2003. He was elected to full membership of the Irish College of General Practitioners in 2010.
The Varadakars are a well travelled ‘medical’ family. His mother a nurse from Dungarvan in West Waterford, his Father (a retired Blanchardstown GP ) is a Hindu originally from Mumbai. Both sisters are also in senior positions in the medical profession. Leo’s parents met in Greater London, in Slough and later moved to the English Midlands in Leicester. Indeed eldest sister Sophie was born there.
The family later returned to India but due to India-Pakistan hostilities later moved to Ireland where Leo was born. In 1979 Seen as one of the future stars of the Fine Gael party for some years Varadkar has been very outspoken, so much so that at one stage he removed his Twitter account because of concerns that he was saying too much, before thinking things through thoroughly. An outspoken critic of new Taoiseach, Enda Kenny in 2010, he was one of those who voted against Kenny in a confidence motion. He later returned to the Front Bench as spokesperson for Communications and Natural Rescources.
What can sports fans look forward to under the new Government and their new Minister ? These extracts are from their programme for Government’
The Programme for Government as outlined by Fine Gael & Labour makes five policy provisions in relation to sport. These are as follows:
* Responsibility for policy to revert to the Department with agencies to be responsible for implementing policy, assessing outcomes and value for money;
* All state funding will be subject to beneficiaries signing up to a dispute resolution service, a code of governance and a new mandatory code of conduct regarding child protection in sport;
* A number of positions on the Irish Sports Council to be made directly electable
* The National Sports Facilities Strategy to become the blueprint for the future development of all sports facilities in the country and will inform any future investment on sports infrastructure;
* In future sports funding should prioritise projects which further greater participation in sport at a local and national level.
Sport also gets a mention in the provisions relating to tourism with event tourism to be prioritised to continue to bring major events and fairs to Ireland such as the Volvo Ocean Race & Solheim Cup.
The Federation of Irish Sports meantime through the Executives of the main Sporting bodies have put forward these proposals for the Government’s consideration: