Fair Play? Sport and Social Disadvantage in Ireland

March 29, 2007
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This report examines the impact of social disadvantage on various forms of participation in sport, using data from more than 3,000 Irish adults. It found those with low income or low educational attainment are many times less likely to participate. This effect is so strong that the large majority of people who play sport in Ireland are from higher income and better educated social groups. Placed in the context of Irish sports policy, this means that public spending on sport is very likely to be regressive, with the less well off subsidising the activities of the better off. If public spending on sport is to continue to be justified on the grounds that it benefits all in Irish society, greater priority needs to be given to policies that are of clear benefit to the disadvantaged.