Swann praised by minister

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North Antrim MLA Robin Swann has been praised by the Stormont Sports Minister for the work he has accomplished to champion the cause of pigeon racing in Northern Ireland.

Mr Swann received the accolade from the Sports Minister during Stormont Question Time in the Chamber.

Minister Ni Chuilin was asked if her Department has provided any cash aid for promoting pigeon clubs.

In her response, the Minister informed the Assembly that her Department and Sport NI have had a number of meetings with representatives of the NI pigeon association and Robin Swann MLA to explore options regarding funding, the recognition of pigeon racing as a sport, charitable status, rates relief and other avenues of support that may be available.

The Minister added: “The process to formally recognise an activity as a sport is the responsibility of the four sports councils. At present, Sport NI and the sports councils in England, Scotland and Wales do not recognise pigeon racing as a sport.

“Any application to recognise the activity as a sport would have to be agreed. In addition to meeting representatives of the NI pigeon association, my officials met the Charity Commission to explore the implications for pigeon clubs seeking charitable status and subsequently provided advice and guidance to the association.”