As you might expect, the Northern Ireland Sports Minister, Sinn Féin’s Carál Ní Chuilín, has been maximising the PR potential of the Olympic success of athletes from here. The Prime Minister, David Cameron, is doing likewise. But eyebrows should have been raised by the NI Sports Minister’s “timely public announcement” of an over £3million investment programme for amateur boxing.
As Newton Emerson noted in yesterday’s Irish News
Sinn Féin culture minister Caral Ni Chuilin earned a full day of headlines by announcing a £3million “cash injection” for boxing, in an apparently spontaneous response to the Olympic success of her north Belfast constituent Paddy Barnes.
Ms Ni Chilin’s departmental budget has already been agreed in detail by the executive until 2015 and the entire allocation for sport in that budget (excluding one-off stadium projects) is just £10m a year, yet somehow the media did not smell an enormous rat.
It was left to UUP MLA Robin Swann to identify the source of the funding.
“The Minister has made an announcement of £3 million for boxing in Northern Ireland, and I would like the Minister to state if this is a new initiative or just the re-announcement of the £3.27 million of lottery funding identified for boxing and outlined to the Culture arts and Leisure Committee on the 26th June.
That would be UK National Lottery funding, natch, noticeable by their absence in the ministerial press release of “promised investment”.
At least the NI Sports Minister was able to name correctly the successful Northern Ireland rowers in Team GB. Unlike her party president, who seems to have been a bit confused by the “medial winners” ["Richard and Peter Chambers and Alan Chambers"!? - Ed]. Twice.
[I'd blame the staff... - Ed] Indeed.