Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Four Staff Depart as Irish Sailing Seeks Chief Operating Officer in 'Period of Change'

18th July 2023
Irish Sailing Headquarters at 3 Park Road in Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin
Irish Sailing Headquarters at 3 Park Road in Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin

It appears to be all change at the Irish Sailing Association this year, with some long-term staff members departing Park Road Headquarters in Dun Laoghaire on Dublin Bay.

Four staff have resigned from Irish Sailing in 2023 so far. The most recent are the Head of Communications, Treasa Cox, and South Coast Development Officer, Gail McAllister. 

There were other Project Management, Support Services and Accounts departures in that period, too, new CEO Tim Bourke told Afloat.

As regular Afloat readers will recall, ISA President John Twomey hosted a drinks party at the Royal St. George Yacht Club with Sport Ireland's top brass and selected guests in attendance to wave off former CEO Harry Hermon last December. 

The longest-serving CEO in Irish sport told the Christmas-time retirement gathering he was leaving the national governing body on a 'stable footing'.

From a staff point of view, however, it appears to have been anything but as Irish Sailing deals with what it describes this week as a 'change of leader and period of change'.

The sailing body hit troubled water in the personnel dept when Hermon was followed out the door early in the new year by two admin staff, one of which wrote to colleagues: "I had not anticipated being in a position where I would be writing this email to you at this stage of my career with Irish Sailing".

In May, we learned of the departure of long-serving regional development officer McAllister after 11 years, who exited weeks after briefing the ICRA National Conference on a buoyant year ahead. Likewise, the Head of Communications announced her departure in June after a six-year stint.

Bourke, who took on the role in January 2023, is not quite sailing solo but is looking to steady the ship with some new crew.

Personnel at Irish Sailing numbered 17 (between part and full-time) in October 2022. Bourke says the number of staff is currently 15 (between part and full-time), which should rise with planned appointments. 

He says about the current recruitment situation: "Three of the roles have been successfully filled. Additional roles in Data and Digital Communications have been secured. Recruitment is ongoing for a Head of Communications and a Chief Operating Officer.  We are pleased with the number of applicants for the roles". 

Happily, "no further departures are anticipated", he adds.

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Irish Sailing

The Irish Sailing Association, also known as Irish Sailing, is the national governing body for sailing, powerboating and windsurfing in Ireland.

Founded in 1945 as the Irish Dinghy Racing Association, it became the Irish Yachting Association in 1964 and the Irish Sailing Association in 1992.

Irish Sailing is a Member National Authority (MNA) of World Sailing and a member of the Olympic Federation of Ireland.

The Association is governed by a volunteer board, elected by the member clubs. Policy Groups provide the link with members and stakeholders while advising the Board on specialist areas. There is a professional administration and performance staff, based at the headquarters in Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin.

Core functions include the regulation of sailing education, administering racing and selection of Irish sailors for international competition. It is the body recognised by the Olympic Federation of Ireland for nominating Irish qualified sailors to be considered for selection to represent Ireland at the Olympic Games. Irish sailors have medalled twice at the Olympics – David Wilkins and Jamie Wikinson at the 1980 games, and Annalise Murphy at the 2016 games.

The Association, through its network of clubs and centres, offers curriculum-based training in the various sailing, windsurfing and powerboating disciplines. Irish Sailing qualifications are recognised by Irish and European Authorities. Most prominent of these are the Yachtmaster and the International Certificate of Competency.

It runs the annual All-Ireland Championships (formerly the Helmsman’s Championship) for senior and junior sailors.

The Association has been led by leading lights in the sailing and business communities. These include Douglas Heard, Clayton Love Junior, John Burke and Robert Dix.

Close to 100 sailors have represented Ireland at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Membership of Irish Sailing is either by direct application or through membership of an affiliated organisation. The annual membership fee ranges from €75 for families, down to €20 for Seniors and Juniors.