The Mid-West region has lost out on business in the run up to London 2012.
This follows confirmation that no international athletes will base themselves in Ireland in preparation for London 2012.
A unique opportunity to market the region has been lost because of government inaction and lack of investment in sports facilities over the past decade.
Had this government had their act together then the Mid-West region could have been home to many of the international teams and individuals looking to prepare for London 2012. Our proximity to London, via Shannon, and the similarities in climate, made the Mid West an ideal base for preparing athletes. Confirmation yesterday from the Olympic Council of Ireland President Pat Hickey that no teams will base themselves in Ireland, confirms replies I received from government over the past year when I raised this in Dáil Éireann.
In the UK British cities are offering cash incentives to teams so that they will base themselves in their region. I believe the Mid-West could have hosted teams from disciplines such as equestrian and athletics, especially given our proximity to the facilities at University of Limerick. Yet that opportunity appears lost now. It is a disappointment and another lost opportunity to advertise the best this region has to offer to a huge international audience.”
The real story here is one of lack of investment by government in world class sporting facilities in Ireland over the past decade. There is a Dublin centered focus to many of the flagship builds and areas such as the Mid-West are been left behind. We are a region with a strong and proud sporting tradition, yet facilities are not being upgraded and kept in line with evolving international standards. If not for the great work done by voluntary organizations such as the GAA and FAI, our sporting infrastructure would be minimal. I hope this snub by Olympic athletes will bring some focus on the need for maintaining and developing our sporting infrastructure.