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Assembly Committee says Don't Just Watch, Play It

Session: 2009/2010

Date: 18 March 2010

Reference: CAL 10/09/10

Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure heard evidence today from the GAA, Ulster Rugby and the IFA on the Committee’s inquiry into sport and physical activity in Northern Ireland. Three local sports personalities attended the meeting to encourage their supporters not only to watch them play but to play the sport themselves.

Chair of the Committee, Barry McElduff, MLA said: “The Committee is concerned about the decline in adult participation in sport and physical activity and has recently begun an inquiry into the issue. Today we have been listening to our local sports personalities to get their views on what can and should be done to get more people active.

“There is a link between performance and participation – there is no doubt that having sporting role models who excel on a world stage is a greater motivator to the rest of us to get fit”.

Colin Coates of the NI football team, Bryn Cunningham from the Ulster Rugby team and Ryan Mellon from the GAA all put their views to the Committee on how best to motivate people in Northern Ireland to participate in sport and physical activity on a regular basis.

Barry McElduff continued: “Research here has shown that 31,000 people attend match fixtures each week. We would like to see all those fans not just watching but doing – and getting at least 30 minutes exercise a day five times a week.

“I and a number of Committee colleagues are getting fit for the Sports Relief Challenge on 21 March 2010. It’s not always easy to find the time to exercise but it’s an essential part of a healthy lifestyle.”

The Committee launched the inquiry because it is concerned at the low levels of participation in sport and physical activity among the adult population. The inquiry will produce a report identifying the barriers which prevent more people from getting involved in physical activity and consider solutions to those issues.

You can follow the Committee Members’ progress to get fit for Sports Relief and view their fitness programmes, interviews, photographs and videos at

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