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The 2nd Federation of Irish Sport Annual Conference #ShapingSportsFuture will be hosted at the Guinness Storehouse on Thursday 29th May 2014. Keynote speaker will be  Dr Leo Varadkar, Minister for Transport Tourism and Sport. the schedule for the day is as follows-

15:30 Registration

16:00 Official Opening and Welcome Address- Sarah O’Connor, CEO, Federation of Irish Sport

16:05 Keynote Address- Dr. Leo Varadkar, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport

Overview of the industry, opportunities and challenges ahead

16:20 PANEL 1- The future funding of Sport in Ireland

How sport is funded in Ireland and how it best needs to be funded in future to ensure sustainability and success

Dr Leo Varadkar- Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Keynote speaker)

Leo Varadkar photographed by Kevin AboschLeo Varadkar is a TD for Dublin West and Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport.  He is the youngest member of the Irish Government and was appointed to office by the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny in March 2011.

First elected to Dáil Eireann (House of Representatives) in 2007, he is a former Spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade and Employment and Communications, Energy and Natural Resources.  Prior to his election to the Dáil, he served as a member of Fingal County Council from October 2003. He received the highest vote in Ireland in the Local Elections of 2004, and was elected Leas-Cathaoirleach of the county.

He has taken a strong interest in political reform proposing and securing government support for a more transparent system of making public appointments and authored the first policy paper calling for a reduction in the number of State agencies.

Born and raised in the Blanchardstown/Castleknock area, Leo studied medicine in Trinity College, Dublin where he earned a BA, BAO, BCh and MB in 2003. He worked in several hospitals before opting for General Practice.

Bernard Allen- Board Member, Irish Sports Council, Chairman of the NGB Committee and former Minister for Sport

Bernard-AllenFirst elected to Dáil Éireann in 1981, Bernard Allen retained his seat at each subsequent general election until his retirement in 2011. A front bench spokesperson for Health, Social Welfare, Environment and Local Government, Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Sport and Recreation, he was appointed Minister of State at the Department of Education and the Environment with special responsibility for Youth and Sport. Bernard is a member of the Pitch and Putt Union of Ireland, Bol Chumann na hEireann, Golfing Union of Ireland, GAA and FAI.

Hugo MacNeill- MD, Goldman Sachs Ireland and Chairman, Ireland Funds

hugo macneillHugo McNeil is Managing Director at Goldman Sachs (Ireland).  A former international rugby player, Hugo played for Ireland for eight seasons between 1981 and 1988 and scored ten tries.  In 1983 he toured New Zealand with the British and Irish Lions and he also played in the first Rugby World Cup in 1987. A graduate of Oxford, he is currently Chair of Ireland’s working bid for the 2023 Rugby World Cup.  Hugo is also Chair of the Ireland Funds.

Garrett KelleherExecutive Chairman, Shelbourne Development Group and St Patrick’s Athletic FC

MOORE STREET PLAZAGarret Kelleher is the founder and Executive Chairman of Shelbourne Development Group and owner of League of Ireland football club St Patrick’s Athletic FC, as well as a significant shareholder in Dolmen Securities, a Dublin based regulated stock brokerage, investment advisor and corporate finance house.  Sponsorships of events have included the Irish Tennis Open in the past.

In 2013, Garrett Kelleher was named to the Advisory Board for the US-Ireland Alliance, a non-profit organization with a focus on educating Americans about Ireland and strengthening ties between the two countries through culture and business.  Kelleher also sits on the Board of Regents at Ave Maria University in Florida.

17:10 Audience discussion and Q&A

17:20 PANEL 2- The role of sport in Irish Society

The broader role sport plays in Irish society in terms of health, social inclusion, tourism, and international reputation

Andy Reed, OBE- Chair, UK Sport and Recreation Alliance

Andy ReedAndy is the Chair of the Sport and Recreation Alliance. With a very strong background in the sector he served arguably the UK’s sportiest constituency – Loughborough – with distinction for 13 years. As an MP he served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Kate Hoey while she was Sports Minister and also introduced the 10 Minute Rule Bill for Community Amateur Sports Club legislation as well as chairing various sports committees in parliament – including the CCPRs own Sports Caucus.

Now director of his own company, SajeImpact and Senior Partner at Green and Gold he leads his local county sports partnership, is chair of the voice of sports volunteers (SSPV) and of the BBL Foundation, as well as a board member of Special Olympics GB and Sports Chaplaincy UK.

He also sits on the board of International Aid agency World Vision UK. Andy continues to turn out for his beloved Birstall Rugby Club where he has played for the last 25 years. He is a co-founder of the Sports Think Tank – the UKs only independent think tank dedicated to sports issues. He was awarded the OBE in 2012 for services to sport and the community.

Brendan Kenny- Assistant Dublin City Manager

CRA DeptBrendan Kenny is Assistant Dublin City Manager. He has responsibility for Community and Social Development as well as Art, Culture, Recreation and Amenity Services in the City.

Part of this remit includes the strategic management of Dublin City Council’s Sport and Events brief including:

  • Citywide Leisure & Fitness provision
  • Sports Development and the Dublin City Sports Network
  • Major Event Bidding, Promotion and Staging
  • Tourism
  • The provision of Sports centres, playing pitches, All weather facilities.
  • The promotion of Social Enterprise and job Activation in Dublin City.

From 2007 to 2012 Brendan worked as Chief Executive of the Limerick Regeneration Agencies. Prior to 2007 he was Assistant Dublin City Manager with responsibility for Housing and Community Services.

Kate O’Flaherty – Director of Health and Wellbeing Programme, Department of Health

Kate O'Flaherty photoKate O’Flaherty graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a BSc(Pharm) in 1993 and registered as a pharmacist  the following year. After completing an MSc in the School of Pharmacy in Trinity in 1997, Kate worked  in both community pharmacy practice and with the national drug addiction services. In 1999/2000 she undertook an MA in Journalism and subsequently worked for a number of years as a freelance journalist and communications consultant, specialising in health. She was the health feature writer for the (now defunct) Sunday Tribune newspaper from 2001-2003, and was shortlisted for a National Media Award in 2002.

Kate was recruited by the PSI in 2007 shortly after the introduction of the Pharmacy Act 2007 to manage the developing communications functions and requirements of the new regulatory body, This position also included the role as Irish lead for the 2013 International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) Dublin Congress following the successful Irish bid for this event. In March 2010 Kate was assigned the additional role of Head of Pharmacy Practice Development with the PSI.

From 2008-2013 Kate worked with colleagues, Council members and stakeholders on a range of projects and initiatives in relation to the expansion of pharmacy services and development of the pharmacy profession. In July 2013, Kate was seconded from the PSI to the Department of Health to the post of Director of the Health and Wellbeing Programme.

This recently established Programme is primarily charged with coordinating the cross-sectoral implementation of the new National Framework for Improved Health and Wellbeing 2013-2025 – Healthy Ireland., which is overseen by the Cabinet Committee on Social Policy chaired by An Taoiseach. A key initial and exemplar project under the Healthy Ireland Framework is the development of a National Physical Activity Plan.

Fiona Coughlan- Irish Rugby Captain and PE Teacher

fiona coughlan2Born in 1981 and raised in Clontarf, Dublin 3, Fiona played Basketball, Hockey and Gaelic Football in Holy Faith Clontarf growing up. She took up rugby when she went to study PE teaching in University of Limerick.  With 80 caps for Ireland Fiona’s honours include; 1 Grand Slam Championship, 2 Interprovincial Championships with Leinster. 11 All Ireland League Titles with UL Bohemians RFC and last year was named the Irish Times/Irish Sport Council Sportswoman of the Year. Fiona is currently a PE and Maths teacher in Lucan Community College in Dublin.

Keith McCormack, Director of Visit Dublin and Head of Events Ireland, at Fáilte Ireland

keith mc cormackKeith’s responsibilities include the marketing and promotion of Dublin as a destination (including the Dublin Convention Bureau), and responsibility for the following tourism sectors in Ireland – cultural, sporting and business tourism events. He is also a Director of St. Patrick Days Festival Ltd.

Keith joined Fáilte Ireland from Greenstar where he was Head of Marketing with responsibility for B2B and B2C marketing segments. In particular, Keith had commercial responsibility for product innovation and development, and led a successful Greenstar re-entry into the Irish Household waste market. Keith has experience in product as well as the service industry, in particular the FMCG sector where he spent time at Glanbia where he was Head of Consumer and Trade Marketing for Yoplait and Trade Marketing Manager of Jacobs (Irish Biscuits). Keith’s experiences are around commercial strategy and implementation, with a particular focus on developing new products and bringing them to market.

18:20 Audience Discussion and Q&A

18:30 Close


18:30 Reception drinks and open mic session with MC Adrian Barry from Off the Ball on Newstalkadrian barry

Chatting to a host of guests from the world of Irish Sport

Panel 1- Liam Harbison, Paralympics Ireland and Ciaran Gallagher, Gymnastics Ireland

Panel 2- Hamish Adams, Rowing Ireland and Harry Hermon, Irish Sailing Association

Presentation- CARA National Inclusion Awards 

19:45 Dinner

22.00 Carriages

MC for the Conference: Caroline Murphy- RTE Broadcaster

caroline murphy

MC Caroline Murphy is a well-known broadcaster who can be heard presenting ‘It Says in the Papers’ on Morning Ireland.

She has had a successful and varied career in Sport, from her early days as a Presenter Reporter in RTE Radio Sport, to the 13 years she spent as an RTE TV Sports producer.  During those years she was responsible for many of the station’s top sporting transmissions, including Sydney 2000 and The Sunday Game as well as the station’s hockey and tennis coverage.

Since leaving RTE in 2002, Caroline has qualified as an Organisational Psychologist and she now combines her work as a broadcaster and producer with a communications consultancy.  Caroline is married to RTE’s Sean O’Rourke.

Partners and Exhibitor Details click here– win prizes on the day!

For more details on the conference please contact: Conn McCluskey, 083-1285169 or