Dáil Éireann - Volume 568 - 12 June, 2003
Written Answers. - Personal Development.
Cecilia Keaveney Cecilia Keaveney
20. Cecilia Keaveney asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism his views on whether there is adequate interdepartmental work happening between his Department and those of Social and Family Affairs, Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Education and Science and Health and Children to co-ordinate an approach to lifestyle and personal development to enable a child to be equipped through arts and sport to better meet the negative challenges that young people are presented with; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16101/03]
Mr. O'Donoghue Mr. O'Donoghue
Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism (Mr. O'Donoghue): My Department works with a wide range of other Departments and agencies through various mechanisms in the formulation and implementation of policies and initiatives,  which impact on young people. For example, my Department was represented at very senior level on the interdepartmental committee which shaped the national children's strategy and is also represented on a number of working groups established by the Department of Health and Children in relation to the complementary role of sport and physical activity in areas such as cardiovascular health and the national children's play strategy.
As the Deputy is aware, one of the bodies under the aegis of my Department, the Irish Sports Council, has identified young people as an important target group in which levels of sports participation should be increased. One important development in 2000 was the launch of the code of ethics and good practice for children's sport in Ireland which was disseminated to all sports clubs in the country. The principles contained in the code, namely, fair play, enjoyment and a commitment to maintaining a child-focus, are the keystones of the council's future work in relation to sport for young people. In the Sports Council's new strategy for 2003-05 sport for life, one of the key areas highlighted is sport for young people. The main objective in this regard is to get more young people to participate in sport at school and in their local community, to ensure that children have an enjoyable introduction to sport, that they see sport as part of their daily lives and get an opportunity to enhance their skills. The council will work in partnership with the Department of Education and Science and the network of local sports partnerships to increase participation in sport.
In relation to the arts, co-ordination and liaison mechanisms are established as the need arises. For example, an interdepartmental committee on public art chaired by my Department and including representatives of the Departments of Education and Science, Health and Children, the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and Communications, Marine and Natural Resources and the Office of Public Works is currently working to produce guidelines in this important area. The aim is to introduce people of all ages to the professional arts by providing exposure to the creative process in public buildings.
Furthermore, one of the stated objectives of the Arts Council, which operates under the aegis of my Department, is to broaden and enrich participation in the arts and it is committed to assisting artists to work with communities, with young people and with schools.
The Government and I fully acknowledge that the creation of an environment in which there is wide-ranging participation in sporting activities and access to the arts and our cultural heritage, can exercise a positive influence on the physical and mental well being of young people in our society and I believe that there is satisfactory interdepartmental co-operation to achieve this objectives.
Dáil Éireann 568 Written Answers. Personal Development.