I was delighted to host Rowing Ireland in Leinster House today. They addressed the Joint Committee on Transport Tourism & Sport today & briefed Oireachtas Members. Honored to meet the athletes and hear directly of their challenges, experiences and successes.
Rowing should be accessible to everyone who wants to compete, be it at domestic or High-Performance level, a sport for all. It is presently No 2 in world following their recent successes. Minority Sports deserve adequate funding. Like many sports it faces challenges but today we are also here to hear about its great success as a sport. Sport plays a crucial role in our communities and provides very important outlets for children, young adults and older adults across our country.
Just over six years ago I had a heart attack and was quite ill. My heart stopped and I asked myself what I would do. When a great guy from Galway, Mr. Pádraig Bree, asked me to go rowing, I said I would never be able to do it, but I went and it was the finest thing I did in the six years since. I have met people from the Tribesmen rowing club who have inspired me to keep going and fighting, telling me that life is about what one can do, not the obstacles before us. Rowing Ireland does this for many people, including me. It is an incredible privilege that the delegates are here and they will be in the audiovisual room at 2 p.m. to address all Deputies and Senators on what Rowing Ireland is about, what its challenges are and what it has achieved with little or no resources. I got to know a little about what rowing was about a good few years ago as I went to school at the “Jes” in Galway where I used to teach I had some awareness of rowing. As I lived in Connemara, I had to get a bus in and out and did not have time to go training. I go to know some of the athletes, including incredible people like Sam Lynch and others. They put in huge effort and had pride in the jersey which is equal to that of any international athlete in any place. We are very privileged to have it.
The purpose of the meeting is to enable the delegates to share some of their story, what they are doing and trying to achieve. I also want the State to acknowledge this and give the financial support to which are entitled and deserve. They are punching so much above their weight without sufficient resources. It is incumbent on us to support Rowing Ireland properly, at least in order that its rowers can fight on a level playing field with the New Zealanders, the British and all other countries of the world that are receiving resources way over and above what they get here. I know that all of the athletes are dependent on their parents, families and friends just to get by. That is not good enough.
Many thanks to Michelle Carpenter, Neville Maxwell BSc QFA CFP Eamonn Colclough and all the athletes for taking the time today #irishsport #sport #rowing