The President of Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT), Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin, has been re-elected as the new President of Athletics Ireland.
Prof. Ó Catháin is a member of the National Technical Official (NTO) panel for Athletics Ireland. Under his stewardship at AIT, a multi-million sports campus has been developed at the institute. An outdoor 400m track was built in recent years and a new state-of-the art 200m indoor track and sports arena was opened in 2013. In February this year the inaugural AIT International Arena Grand Prix was held at the venue which produced a night of magical sporting memories.
During his speech Ó Catháin spoke of the importance of the volunteer: “to say that we appreciate the work and commitment of the thousands of administrators, officials and coaches who give freely of their time is a significant understatement.” He also thanked the CEO John Foley, the entire staff team and committee members of Athletics Ireland for all of their work.
The President also spoke of the need to be ambitious as a sport: “Our vision set out in the strategic plan is an inclusive one and envisages a future landscape for our sport that is not small or limited. That landscape should be as vast and expansive as the ambitions of our athletes. It should be illuminated with the successes of our sporting heroes from Rob Heffernan to Joe Gough, Fionnuala Britton to Kelly Proper.”
The following chairs were also voted on to the board: Chair of Competition and Deputy President: Georgina Drumm and, Chair of High Performance: Brid Golden, Chair of Coaching and Development: Eamon Harvey, Chair of Juvenile: and Chair of Finance and Risk: Peter Hanlon.
John Foley CEO of Athletics Ireland also presented to the delegates at the Congress highlighting that membership is up 67% since 2009 from 29,000 to just under 50,000 in 2013, with an objective to grow membership to 60,000 over the next two years.
Foley also spoke of the support provided to our elite athletes “Close to €900k of support is provided to our 88 carded athletes in the form of cash grants and support services. Indeed the support provided is one of the best in Europe. The High Performance Systems which have been developed by Kevin Ankrom will allow for more consistent delivery of performances at major championships and create more medal opportunities”
The CEO also spoke of the importance of coaching in the development of our athletes from grassroots to glory he said “Last year we appointed our first full term coach in Endurance; Chris Jones, and with funding we have aspirations to extend for each discipline”
On the topic of finances Foley said “The support we receive from the Sports Council is core to our sustainability and we are extremely grateful for this support. We are now 60% self-sufficient and 40% government funding. Just three years ago the ratio stood at 40% self-sufficient to 60% government funding. The income generated predominantly through membership fees, sponsorship and by running recreational road races. ”
At the Athletics Ireland Congress the following candidates were elected to the Board
• President: Ciarán Ó Catháin
• Chair of Competition and Deputy President :Georgina Drumm
• Chair of High Performance: Brid Golden
• Chair of Coaching and Development: Eamon Harvey
• Chair of Juvenile: Jim Ryan
• Chair of Finance and Risk: Peter Hanlon
• Munster Representative: Jim Ryan
• Leinster Representative : John Cronin
• Connaught Representative: Michael O’Hart
• Ulster Representative: Neil Martin