November 18, 2020
Sport Ireland track record does not inspire confidence in sporting governance oversight – Imelda Munster TD

Imelda MunsterSinn Féin spokesperson on Media, Tourism and Sport Imelda Munster TD today queried the suitability of Sport Ireland taking over the Governance Code for Community, Voluntary and Charitable Organisations for all sporting organisations under its remit, given its own apparent inability to comply with aspects of the code.

Teachta Munster questioned the CEO of Sport Ireland, Mr John Treacy, and the chairman of Sport Ireland, Mr Kieran Mulvey, at a meeting of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and the Media.

Teachta Munster said:

“The chairman said in his opening statement today that Sport Ireland has been tasked with ensuring strong governance in sporting bodies under the Governance Code for Community, Voluntary and Charitable Organisations.

“I put it to the CEO of Sport Ireland that the public might have little confidence in their oversight role, given the fact that he has been in situ as CEO for 21 years, and has recently had his contract extended for another year.

“That is despite government guidelines on the Appointments of CEOs of Non-Commercial State Bodies recommending five-year term limits for CEOs.”

Teachta Munster also raised concerns that when Sport Ireland was founded in 2015, Mr Treacy was appointed without an open competition for an initial 12-month period, and was reappointed again without a competition in 2016 and in September 2020.

She added:

“Sport Ireland and the Minister for Sport have argued that the two organisations are entirely separate, and that there was therefore no breach.

“But the remit and personnel of the Irish Sports Council and Sport Ireland are very similar, so I do not think that argument is a credible as both had been tasked to drive and develop the future of Irish sport.

“Sport Ireland came about in 2015 when the Irish Sports Council and the National Sports Campus Development Authority were amalgamated.

“Mr Treacy was first appointed head of the Sports Council in 1999 and will remain head of Sport Ireland for at least another year.

“Mr Mulvey has also had his contract as chair extended for another two years, which means he will be serving at least a 12-year term as chairman, despite the Sport Ireland Act 2015 legislating that members of the board should not sit for more than two terms.

“It also appears to contravene the governance code for state bodies.”

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