N. Ireland Politics

Sports cash cuts 'could be catastrophic'

A sports' chief has told the Culture, Arts and Leisure Assembly Committee that £6m in cuts "could be catastrophic and have far-reaching consequences".

Sport NI's Acting Chief Executive Nick Harkness made his comments at Stormont on Thursday.

Last week, the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure said it has been told to make cuts of more than 17% over the next four years.

Mr Harkness told the committee the agency had already made efficiencies.

He said, for example, a member of staff who worked to promote sport in primary schools had not been replaced.

Earlier, a member of the Arts Council told the committee that his real fear was that Northern Ireland would become a "no go zone for artists."

Director of strategic development Nick Livingston said 60% of grant applications from artists were already rejected by the council.

Nóirín McKinney, Director of Arts Development referred to risk of up to 100 posts being lost across the sector.

At the end of June, Chancellor George Osborne's first budget detailed a package of tax increases and spending cuts which aims to cut the UK's £155bn deficit.

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