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Saturday 3 December 2016

Bernard Brogan: Sport can beat the scourge of male obesity

Bernard Brogan, President, Federation of Irish Sport is pictured at the launch of the Federation of Irish Sport's Manifesto for Irish Sport. The Federation, which represents 76 national governing bodies and 27 local sports partnerships, has set out a five point plan for the next Government to deliver on Ireland's sporting potential
Bernard Brogan, President, Federation of Irish Sport is pictured at the launch of the Federation of Irish Sport's Manifesto for Irish Sport. The Federation, which represents 76 national governing bodies and 27 local sports partnerships, has set out a five point plan for the next Government to deliver on Ireland's sporting potential

Dublin GAA star Bernard Brogan has described the recent obesity figures regarding Irish males as “a crippling fact” and called on more money to be allocated to sports.

Brogan, the president of the Federation of Irish Sport (FIS), launched its manifesto which outlined a five-point plan for the future of Irish sport.

The All-Ireland winner called for a new national vision and strategy for sport, while expressing his disappointment at recent figures which showed only 40pc of men exercised enough.

“It’s a crippling fact really, there are currently a lot of challenges in terms of health and mental well-being and sport can work towards preventing a decline in both.

“If you’re fit, healthy and active you’re feeling good and you’re enjoying it, and it can prevent any of those problems developing further down the line,” Brogan said.

Funding

One of the points in the manifesto calls for sports funding to be restored, with a decline of 26pc noted in the last seven years.

In 2015, it was estimated that the government budget for sport was €42.5m, compared with €57.2 in 2008.

The FIS also called on provisions for a mandatory two hours of PE every week and for the extension of tax reliefs to create a level playing field among the not-for-profit sector.

Dublin forward Brogan admitted  taking up the role as president of the federation “certainly opened my eyes” to how important policies are, and he refused to rule out a future role in politics and policy-making.  “You never know,” he said.

“Sport is a key part of what defines us and brings us together as communities, as counties, as provinces and as a country,” he said.

“When we play on the international stage, and the Irish flag is raised or the national anthem played, our sense of national pride and what we are capable of, soars.

Strategy

“With just a little effort on behalf of the Government in setting out a vision and strategy for where we want sport to go in this country, linked with the required resources and ongoing monitoring, we could do so much better.

“I urge all political parties and candidates to sign up to the commitments contained in our Manifesto for Irish Sport,” he added.

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