New Sport Ireland CEO attends Offaly GA

Dr Una May, Chief Executive of Sport Ireland and Miriam O Callaghan, former Offaly SP Chair and current Sport Ireland Board Member.

Dr Una May, who was appointed Chief Executive of Sport Ireland in January, was guest of honor at the recent Offaly Sports Partnership Annual General Meeting at the Tullamore Court Hotel. In an address to a rally after the formal meeting, Dr May paid tribute to the tremendous work undertaken by Sports Partnerships across Ireland.

She spoke about her time at Sport Ireland from the start and leading anti-doping in its early years. She spoke about the importance of the work of sport partnerships at the community level. She particularly highlighted the importance of communities working together to make things happen and how this is as important as the investment.

The AGM was the first in 28 months to be held face-to-face and all past and present members were invited in recognition of their work and efforts over many years. All members were thanked for their individual contributions. Those who advanced various work during Covid when meetings had to be conducted remotely were especially thanked.

A tribute was paid to Miriam O’Callaghan who was Chair of the Sports Partnership for 10 years before joining the Sport Ireland Board. Dr. May made a presentation to Ms. O’Callaghan on behalf of the Sport Partnership members.

In an address to the meeting, Eamonn Henry, Partnership Coordinator, gave a brief history of how the partnership has evolved since the first meeting “at this hotel” (Tullamore Court) in January 2003. He acknowledged Matt Connor who was the sponsor of the Sports Partnership from the start; and whose name is synonymous with both sport and Offaly. He also paid tribute to Ann Dillon of Offaly County Council who called the first meeting; and to Padraig Boland who was the first president of the Sports Partnership.

Mr. Henry noted the growth of the Sport Partnership in almost 20 years and indicated that it will have seven employees in 2023. He further followed a growth in investment in sport over the past 20 years; and the many grassroots efforts and developments in a number of sports.

The work of volunteers from across the county was particularly appreciated. “It’s the people who make the sport exist in our county,” said Mr Henry, indicating that he was one of the lucky few to earn a salary doing a job he loves.

Before Dr May’s speech, Mr Henry paid tribute to him and his predecessor, John Treacy. Acknowledging John Treacy’s many years of service to Irish sport, Mr Henry also referred to the high point of his sporting career and his “bravery” as an athlete. Of Dr May he said ‘Irish Sport is in safe hands’. He spoke of his passion, his commitment and his desire for Ireland to have a world-class sport system.

At the AGM, Cllr Robert McDermott, former Chairman of Leinster Rugby, was re-elected Chairman of Offaly Sports Partnership for the coming year. Cllr McDermott acknowledged the large amount of work being done across the county. He also indicated that he looks forward to continuing to lead the organization in the coming year.

Other elected officers were Jude Feehan, vice president; Joe Meegan, Financial Monitor, Sean Campbell, External Sports Representative on the Executive Committee, Lourda Giles will replace Ann Dillon on the Executive Committee on behalf of Offaly County Council.

The members were also introduced to the Offaly Sports Partnership staff team, including its latest recruit, Liam O’Reilly, who joins the Sports Partnership as ACE Coordinator. Liam was previously Head of Games Development at Offaly GAA. Sports Development Officers, Jean Brady and Denise Coghill were both congratulated on the new additions to their families.

Over the coming month, the Sports Partnership will be consulting with various county stakeholders on its 2023 operational plan; and will also promote a competition for the next series of Community Sports Hubs.

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