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Minister O’Donovan Launches 2016 Irish Anti-Doping Review

24 March, 2017

Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Patrick O’Donovan TD, in conjunction with Sport Ireland, today launched the 2016 Irish Anti-Doping Review at the Sport Ireland National Indoor Arena.

In 2016, the Irish Anti-Doping Programme continued to make substantial progress in education, research, testing and detection. The 2016 Irish Anti-Doping Review, the seventeenth of the programme, gives a full and detailed account of these activities.

Last year, through the national testing programme Sport Ireland conducted 1,003 tests. This includes 326 blood tests, marking an increase of 10% on 2015. Sport Ireland also conducted 275 ‘user pays’ tests on behalf of fifteen national and international organisations.

Speaking at the launch, Minister O’Donovan said: “Ireland is a proud sporting nation, where sporting success unites people from all backgrounds right across the country, but we only want to celebrate those successes if they are achieved in a fair manner. In a difficult year in the fight against doping, Sport Ireland has been working diligently and with great professionalism to ensure that Ireland’s sporting interests are protected. In Ireland we remain committed to championing fair play in sport and protecting the rights of clean athletes; we want to send out a very clear message that doping, both in Ireland and internationally, should not be tolerated at any level”.

In 2016, a key focus for Sport Ireland was on the continued strengthening of the education programme by training more anti-doping tutors within National Governing Bodies, developing education strategies and a new online training resource to increase athlete awareness of anti-doping topics.

Kieran Mulvey, Chairman of Sport Ireland, commented: “Sport Ireland recognises that the success of the Anti- Doping Programme in Ireland is due to the continued co-operation and commitment we receive from National Governing Bodies and athletes. Throughout 2016 the strength and depth of Sport Ireland’s anti-doping programme was evident and Sport Ireland endeavour to continue to demonstrate that doping among Irish athletes will not be tolerated.

2016 was a challenging year in the global fight against doping in sport. Sport Ireland joined with other National Anti-Doping Organisations (NADOs) in Copenhagen and Bonn in August and October to collaborate and draw up a list of recommendations which the group believes will help protect clean athletes and the integrity of sport.

Commenting on the global situation, John Treacy, Chief Executive of Sport Ireland, added: “Globally 2016 was a difficult year and Sport Ireland felt compelled to join with other world leaders in anti-doping to strongly condemn the type of behaviour which was revealed in the McLaren Reports. I am delighted that Sport Ireland continues to be one of the leaders advocating for clean athletes and pushing for reform of the anti-doping system internationally. In January of this year Sport Ireland hosted over twenty NADOs a special summit in Farmleigh where the calls from Copenhagen and Bonn were reiterated. It is imperative that these recommendations be implemented and Sport Ireland will continue to advocate to protect clean athletes everywhere as we look forward to the rest of 2017.”

This morning Sport Ireland also releveled the findings of an athlete survey, which posed a number of questions on the anti-doping system to 148 athletes. The results indicated that almost 9 in 10 athletes had received information on banned substances, while nearly 7 in 10 were confident in their knowledge of banned substances.

Over 90% of participants felt that drug taking was cheating and that deliberately using banned substances to improve performance was “morally wrong under any circumstances”. Athletes felt that doping was significantly more prevalent globally.

Caroline Murphy, Chairperson Sport Ireland Anti-Doping Committee, said: “The results of this research give a reasonable indication of the knowledge and experience of Ireland’s high profile athletes when it comes to matters relating to anti-doping. The results will be used by Sport Ireland to shape the anti-doping education programme moving forward, as we continue to leave no stone unturned in our fight against doping.”

The 2016 Irish Anti-Doping Review can be viewed here: 2016 Anti-Doping Review

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