Athletics NI representatives attended a meeting on Monday 9￼ March with Nichola Mallon, Minister for Infrastructure and officials from the Department to discuss the problems caused by the recently introduced Roads Closure legislation -The Roads (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act.
Representatives from Triathlon Ireland, NI Sports Forum and Andrew Muir MLA were also present. The severe effect which the legislation has had on road racing was pointed out to the Minister along with the conflict of one branch of Government promoting running as a contribution to healthy lifestyles and another branch making it extremely difficult for road races to be promoted. The focus of our discussions at the meeting was on the very many relatively small races throughout NI which have been disproportionately affected by the implementation of the legislation and how it might be possible to find ways of reducing the bureaucratic and financial burden for such events.
The Minister has agreed to initiate a review of the legislation. This will take the form of a questionnaire which interested parties will be asked to fill out and it should be ready to be rolled out in around 6 weeks with a reasonable period being allowed for responses to be returned.
Athletics NI will be as proactive as possible in making sure that the questionnaire is circulated as widely as possible and we will be doing all we can to encourage interested parties (especially event organisers, clubs and athletes) to make their views known and return the questionnaires in as much detail as possible.
Athletics NI has offered to help with the evaluation of the questionnaire’s responses and to engage with the Department of Infrastructure to help identify an acceptable way forward which will allow as many of the relatively smaller community based events as possible to return. We will continue to monitor things and will issue updates as appropriate.