Taoiseach turns the sod on new world class sporting facility
27 March 2017, Tralee, Co. Kerry
Taoiseach Enda Kenny T.D. today visited the Institute of Technology, Tralee to turn the sod on the new Kerry Sports Academy. This €16.5 million facility, scheduled to open in Autumn 2018, will be an international centre of excellence for education, training and research. It will serve as the national sports centre for people with disabilities, empowering them to realise their true potential in an environment where both the equipment and expertise are specifically adapted for their needs. It is the largest sports capital project ever to have been undertaken in Kerry and will also be the headquarters for the Health and Leisure Department of the IT Tralee. Partners of the project also include the Kerry GAA and Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann.
Speaking in Tralee today the Taoiseach said; “The Kerry Sports Academy here at the Institute of Technology, Tralee, is the next step of what is an impressive master plan for the Institute and is likely to serve as a further jewel in the future of Kerry’s proud sporting community.The Academy will allow all sports people at every level to enjoy, prepare and compete to the highest standards. It will serve as a national centre for people with disabilities, addressing the needs of paralympic level athletes as well as opening up a world of opportunities and accessibility to sports and recreation for all people with disabilities in our society.This is a remarkable achievement and one that everybody associated with IT Tralee should be justifiably proud. The Academy will provide a fitting home for the UNESCO Chair to continue its mission to transform the lives of people with disabilities, their families and their communities through fitness and physical education.”
The Institute of Technology, Tralee is as an international leader in advancing policy and practice in the field of health and leisure studies and specifically the area of adapted physical activity for people with disabilities. The new Kerry Sports Academy will be an important addition to the learning environment on campus and will provide state of the art, universally accessible facilities to allow people to participate in physical activity and sport from recreational level to the highest national and international levels. The work of IT Tralee in this area has been recognised by UNESCO in their conferring of a UNESCO Chair titled: "Transforming the Lives of People with Disabilities, their Families and Communities, Through Physical Education, Sport, Recreation and Fitness".
Also speaking at the sod turning ceremony today Mr Dick Spring, Chairman of the Institute of Technology, Tralee Foundation said “Today is an exciting day for us here at the Institute and for our national and international partners. We have over the years worked hard to develop an ethos of inclusion in sport and to shape the future of adapted physical activity, regionally, nationally and internationally. The construction of this new Kerry Sports Academy will further cement the Institute’s reputation as a world class centre of excellence for adapted physical activity and inclusive physical education. The focus of the Academy's activities will be life long and life wide, ranging from rehabilitation and recreation through to elite performance. The Academy has been designed to address the needs of paralympic level athletes, as well as opening up a world of opportunities and accessibility to sports and recreation for all people with disabilities in our society.”
Dr. Oliver Murphy, President of the IT Tralee welcomed the Taoiseach to the campus and expressed his thanks to government for its support for the project. He outlined the importance of the Kerry Sports Academy in providing state-of-the-art facilities for third level students in the pursuit of their studies at the IT Tralee. “The IT Tralee has been delivering sports education for over 25 years. This facility will enable us to facilitate greater numbers of students in this discipline area, meeting the needs of employers both nationally and internationally. This facility will also provide an excellent recreational resource for all students of the ITT, enhancing extra-curricular opportunities at the Institute”