We are very lucky to have a state of the art boat house, here are some photos showing its story and the official opening speech by Minister John O’Donoghue from the evening of the 5th June 2004!
Here’s the official opening speech…
I am delighted to be here in my native Kerry this evening at the official opening of the Killorglin Rowing Club boat-house.
As you know, the Killorglin Rowing Club was set up in the early 1990’s by rowing enthusiasts with a view to reviving the local traditional coastal rowing and to introduce and develop conventional slider rowing. It is now one of Munster’s leading clubs, with athletes competing at local, national and international level. The club is affiliated to both the Irish Coastal Rowing Federation and the Irish Amateur Rowing Union and, I am pleased to note, has achieved much success in both codes.
As Minister for Sport, one of my greatest pleasures is to get out and about and see for myself some of the tremendous projects that have been made possible through Sports Capital Programme funding provided by this Government. It therefore gives me enormous pleasure to see this major development come to fruition.
Sport is thriving under this Government. We were the first to acknowledge the importance of sport by giving it a seat at the Cabinet table back in 1997. Since then, the sporting landscape in Ireland has improved dramatically. There has been an unprecedented increase in the level of Government support for sport over the past seven years, with a rise in the total sports budget from €17m in 1997 to €109m in 2004. This represents a massive increase of €92m, or 540%, and includes over €30m for the Irish Sports Council, which we established in 1999 as the statutory agency for the promotion, development and co-ordination of sport.
Killorglin Rowing Club is an excellent example of the results of increased spending by the Government on rowing. Since 2002, my Department has allocated €4.7m to rowing projects under the Sports Capital Programme. These include Killorglin Rowing Club, which has been allocated a total of €550,000 under the Programme, and the National Rowing Centre at Inniscarra, Co Cork, where competitors from Killorglin Rowing Club carry out their international training. Indeed, since 1998, we have awarded almost €321 million under the Programme to more than 4,200 deserving projects in parishes, villages, towns and cities throughout Ireland – a massive and unparalleled investment in Irish sport.
2004 is, of course, a very special year for sport. The Government has included, in the Sports Council’s annual budget, an amount of €5m to allow for world-class preparation and performance by our elite athletes in this Olympic and Paralympic year and to ensure that Ireland has world-class support systems in place. The Irish Sports Council have worked closely with the Olympic Council of Ireland to ensure that the focus in the build up to Athens will be on the Irish team of athletes and coaches. I can assure you that the Irish team to represent us at this year’s Olympics in Athens will be the best-prepared team ever to leave our shores.
In this regard, I am particularly pleased that, in 2003 and 2004, a total of €600,000 has been allocated to the Rowing Union under the Athens Enhancement Programme, with over €400,000 being allocated to the Union under the International Carding Scheme for elite athletes. This is in addition to the core funding of over €1.7m allocated to the Irish Amateur Rowing Union by the Irish Sports Council over the past number of years.
In Ireland, we take enormous pride in the success of our top sportsmen and women. We have enjoyed so many great performances and have so many great memories. I would like to wish the athletes and the support squad of the boats being planned for the Olympics the best of luck. I would also like to take this opportunity to wish the Performance Director, Richard Parr, and the national coaches, Thor Nelson and Tony O’Connor, continued success in their positions.
Up to now, the natural amenity provided by the River Laune at Killorglin has been under-utilised. The provision of rowing facilities here in Killorglin will tap the amenity benefit of the river and provide an additional outlet for the sporting enthusiasm of the young people of the area. Persuading children and young teenagers to tear themselves from the TV and Playstation screens is no small achievement. That is why it is so important to provide top class facilities like our new boat-house so our youth can enjoy the marvellous rowing facilities offered to us by the river Laune.
I would also like to take this opportunity to express my deepest admiration and gratitude for the vital contribution that volunteers continue to give to Irish sport through their extraordinary commitment and dedication. Rowing, like all sport in Ireland, relies heavily on the involvement of such volunteers. It would not have been or continue to be so successful if these volunteers had not helped provide the environment for nurturing sporting talent, particularly amongst our young people.
Since work commenced on the boat-house, I know that you have all worked extremely hard. The local community has given this project tremendous support, and I know that this will continue. The project has cost you time, effort and money, but I am sure that will be paid back to the club and the local community with interest into the future.
Finally, I would like to take the opportunity to acknowledge the work of the Killorglin Rowing Club Committee and Officers. Without your unstinting efforts and your willingness to give of your time and your enthusiasm, this development would not have got off the ground. I know that your committee, under the Chair of Michael Fleming Snr, and all the Management Committee will pass the credit to everyone involved. I wish you all every success for the future.