'No savings in merging of sporting bodies'
The proposed merger of the Irish Sports Council and the National Sports Campus Development Authority will not save much money for the taxpayer, a Government official has admitted.
The merger could actually cost up to €5m if proposals to locate the new body, Sport Ireland, at the historic Abbotstown House in Dublin are implemented.
It emerged at a sitting of the Dail's Public Accounts Committee that much of this money would need to be spent on the restoration of the listed building.
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport assistant secretary Donagh Morgan said there would not be any massive savings or staff losses as a result of the proposed merger, which was announced by junior minister Michael Ring this year.
The Irish Sports Council plans, leads and co-ordinates the development of competitive and recreational sport, while the National Sports Campus Development Authority is responsible for the National Aquatic Centre and buildings on campus housing the headquarters of the FAI and the Institute of Sport.
Mr Morgan said the proposal to house the new body at Abbotstown House was "a long-term plan" due to the costs involved.
The merger is set to proceed even if money is not found to renovate the building. Irish Sports Council chief executive John Treacy said he did not believe the new body would be in the building soon.