MEMBERS of a number of UCD sports clubs have voiced their concerns regarding cuts in funding for their organisations. Director of Sports, Brian Mullins has confirmed that the sports budget will be cut by up to twelve per cent, in line with university-wide cut backs which have been implemented for this year.
There are fears among clubs that this reduction could lead to a detoriation in the quality of the sports clubs in the university. Lacrosse Club Captain, John O’Connor expressed concerns that these cutbacks could hamper the development of sports in UCD. “If funding was cut for a high performance sport, it would definitely impact on them” said Mr O’Connor. “[UCD] need to spend a lot of money in order to see progress”.
He also acknowledged that cutbacks would have a negative effect on UCD’s participation in sporting competitions. “At the moment, lacrosse is at the stage where we don’t have a lot of colleges… to be competing against so we’re trying to help other colleges get started,” explained Mr O’Connor. “It would definitely affect UCD’s role in the development of sport in the country if we couldn’t do that”.
Similar sentiments were also expressed by UCD Handball Club Secretary, Andrea Ongaro who commented that “cutting the little funding we get is not healthy. If we get less from the college, we may have to raise our membership fees and this will put people off joining”.
Mr Ongaro continued to say that without funding, the handball club would experience difficulty paying for equipment. He refered to the club’s need to buy new goalposts and explained that “if we don’t get enough money from the university, we might not be able to afford them and that means we’re going to have to use the old ones, which are both unstable and unsafe”.
Although travelling expenses are paid independently by each club, Mr O’Connor expressed concern that a reduction in funds would require membership fees to increase in order to facilitate travel and could potentially put people out of joining a sports club.
Mr Mullens explained that although sports is a vital part of student life, the university was facing cutbacks in all its sectors and therefore, the budget for sport had to be reduced. Echoing these sentiments,
Vice-President for Students, Dr Martin Butler commented that he had held a meeting to discuss the facilities needed for the high performance sport unit, but admitted that, at present, there was no funding available to the university to provide additional services.
Dr Butler also stated that identifying the needs and funding methods is an important step to improving sport in the university, saying “what we need to do is have in place a wishlist of capital items, and then we identify how to fund those.”