The Lagan Valley MLA was speaking after it was revealed the Sport Programme, jointly run by the IFA and GAA, would no longer be funded by the Department of Education. It operated in more than 200 schools across Northern Ireland, providing lessons in physical activity for pupils.
“The Sports Programme is aimed at raising the confidence, resilience, self-esteem and motivation of pupils, and helped achieve that for many,” said Mr Honeyford.
“In the era of post-Covid recovery, these issues are even more important for our young people. It is therefore deeply disappointing this programme has lost its funding from the Department, especially when recent reports have highlighted serious concerns around the health and levels of physical activity among children and young people in Northern Ireland.
“I have previously written to the Department to urge it to continue funding this programme and I ask the Permanent Secretary to reconsider his move to withdraw it. It breaches every principle of the outcome-based approach envisaged in recent Programmes for Government and goes against the basic premise that prevention is better than the cure.
“This is yet another consequence of the lack of an Executive, with short-sighted and short-term decisions being taken. I call again on those blocking restoration of devolution to look at the damage their stance is causing.”