Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Masters of Science (Research)


Institute of Technology Tralee

First Advisor

Una Moynihan

Second Advisor

Jackie Gallagher


Local authorities in Ireland have historically had an input in to the delivery of sport and physical activity nationwide, and are often seen as a key player in this area (Irish Sports Council, 2013). Various legal acts governing Irish local authorities outline the role of local authorities in the provision of sport and physical activity (Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, 2012; Government of Ireland, 2014). Local authorities provide sport and physical activity opportunities through the provision of facilities predominantly and to a lesser extent through the provision of programmes and employment of personnel. Varying approaches to this provision are evident with local authorities employing a direct, enabler and/or partnership approach to provision (Smith, 1997).

The aim of the study was to investigate the commitment of local authorities to the provision of sport and physical activity and the resulting impact on citizen life dimensions.

The methods of investigation were as follows; a survey of local authority personnel (n=9), semi-structured interviews of town clerks with responsibility for sport and physical activity provision (n=3) and an analysis of local authority development plans (n=9). A citizen survey (n=272) investigated a range of individual and collective life dimensions e.g. quality of life.

The study revealed that there is no consistency in the level of provision to sport and physical activity amongst local authorities of similar size. In addition high levels of local authority commitment to sport and physical activity can influence citizens perceptions of their town, thus citizens living in towns with higher levels of commitment tended to perceive their towns more positively (p= .009). This high level of commitment also positively impacts on women's participation in vigorous physical activity (p= .036). In addition a significant correlation existed between the number of monitoring and evaluation methods carried out by a local authority and their overall commitment levels.

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