Shane O'Connor takes the reigns as new Gymnastics Ireland Chair

22nd July 2019, 15:42p.m. | National

22nd July 2019; The Gymnastics Ireland membership gathered on Sunday 21st July at the Sport Ireland Campus for what was a day of pride & mixed emotions at the 2019 Annual General Meeting.

Governance reform has been at the top of the agenda for the Board which has been led by Ger Rellis for the last 12 years. In 2016 the members historically voted unanimously at an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) to radically change the governance structures and processes of the organisation to ensure Gymnastics Ireland was being governed inline with modern good governance practices. This included changes to ensure the Board was structured to balance representation with competency, implement max term limits & introduce independent directors. At the 2016 EGM is was agreed by the membership present that Ger would carry on as Chair for a transitional term of 3 years taking the organisation up to July 2019 to complete the governance restructure work which included the implementation of the Governance Code as a Type C organisation for which we declared full compliance in December 2018.

While Ger will be continuing to support Gymnastics Ireland by Chairing the new governance committee he now hands the reigns as Chair of the Board over to the capable hands of Shane O'Connor. Shane is a former winter Olympian from Vancouver 2010 Games, current Chair of the Olympic Federation of Ireland's Athletes Commission & a member of the Sports Leadership Group, sitting on that committee along side Minister Ross & Griffin in addition to Sport Ireland CEO John Treacy among others to drive the implementation of the National Sports Policy. While Shane does not have a background in gymnastics as a sport himself, his independence will no doubt be a huge asset to the organisation just as was the case with Ger Rellis. Shane has recently been introduced to the organisation through his young daughter who is a member of Muckross Gymnastics Club and over the past number of years has attended many national competitions at the National Indoor Arena.

Shane led a group of 9 people who ran endorsing each other to support a progressive agenda that will see the development of the new Gymnastics Ireland Strategic plan to guide us past Tokyo as our current plan comes to a conclusion in Dec 2020. Included in these 9 people were key Gymnastics Ireland members such as Mairead Kavanagh, Ireland's first technical official appointed to a world gymnastics governing body and multiple European and world medallist from Romania, Flavius Kozci. Also included in the 9 members are our new independent directors which include Roddy Guiney who is the Chair of Wilson Hartnell (Ireland's largest PR/Comms firm) & Chair of the Federation of Irish Sport, in addition to Lynne Darcy who is the Sponsorship, PR & Brand Manager for ESB & Electric Ireland.

Speaking at the event Ger Rellis said:

'It's a day of mixed emotions and pride for me. As I step away as Chair of Gymnastics Ireland I am incredibly proud of the work and achievements of our great members who make up such a great organisation. I am also incredibly happy to be handing over the reigns as Chair to Shane as I have full confidence that he is the right candidate to take Gymnastics Ireland to the next level working along side his fellow Board members and our CEO, Ciaran Gallagher & his staff team. I would like to thank the other Board members with whom I have served as Chair and look forward to continuing to add value to the development of Gymnastics Ireland as an organisation as Chair of the governance committee. Gymnastics in Ireland has a very exciting future ahead of it and I will continue to be one of its biggest supporters...'

New Chair Shane O'Connor commented:

'I've been a fan of Gymnastics Ireland as an organisation for the past number of years and have watched the impressive development of the sport with great interest. Through my recent role on the Olympic Federation of Ireland (OFI) I became more familiar with the sport following with great interest the recent successes of gymnasts such as Rhys McClenaghan and Emma Slevin, not to mention through my own daughter who is in love with the sport. I also developed a further understanding of the organisation through the relationship built with CEO Ciaran Gallagher as a fellow OFI Board member. I feel very honoured to be taking over the reigns from Ger and look forward to building on the fantastic work he now hands over to me.'

CEO, Ciaran Gallagher added:

'It's been an absolute pleasure to work with Ger over these 12+ years in developing Gymnastics Ireland. When we both started off in this journey the organisation was in a very different position as to what it is now... Ger steps down as a Chair of one of the largest Olympic sports in the country with over 33,000 members, a world-class base of operations at the Sport Ireland Campus and a sport that has broken through on the international stage with the performances of gymnasts such as Rhys McClenaghan & Emma Slevin. I honestly do not think that without Ger Rellis we would be in the position we are in - he facilitated a cultural change at Board level that allowed our sport to develop and on a personal level as CEO has been nothing but supportive and a great mentor & friend for me. I also would like to thank our other Board members who are stepping down, namely Marisa Duffy, Natasha Preston, Rob Fuller & Tom Dillon. These guys have worked tirelessly alongside Ger and have been just as crucial to the development of the organisation over the years - on behalf of the staff team at GI thank-you. I now look forward to working with Shane and the new Board as we plan our for our future post Tokyo and towards Paris 2024 & LA 2028.'

The day saw Gymnastics Ireland CEO Ciaran Gallagher present a very positive annual report which shows 2018 was a great year for the sport of gymnastics in Ireland which can be viewed by clicking here...

Please see full Gymnastics Ireland Board members for July 2019 - July 2022 below, click on name for individual bios...

Members appointed by Nominations Panel and ratified by members present at AGM...

Members vetted by Nominations Panel and deemed eligible for election/subsequently elected by members present at AGM...

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Pictured from left to right Gymnastics Ireland incoming Chair Shane O'Connor, outgoing Chair Ger Rellis & CEO Ciaran Gallagher.

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