March 2018

‘Actions Speak Louder than Words’, a women in sport event was jointly hosted last Thursday by the Olympic Council of Ireland and Federation of Irish Sport. 50 guests across Sporting Federations, Sport Ireland, the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport alongside athletes and a number of media representatives attended the discussion around a proposal on how to support and enhance the position of women in sport in Ireland.

Guests enjoyed a reception in advance of the event where wine, tea, coffee and canapes were served. Sarah O’Connor, Head of Sport in Wilson Hartnell welcomed guests to the event, hosted in the picturesque setting and home of WH at 6 Ely Place with MC Evanne Ni Chuillinn beginning the evenings proceedings by welcoming President of the Olympic Council, Sarah Keane, CEO of the Federation of Irish Sport, Mary O’Connor as well as a number of VIP guests including incoming CEO of the Olympic Council, Peter Sherrard, Chair of the Athletes Commission, Shane O’Connor as well as Una May from Sport Ireland.

Sarah Keane spoke, followed by Mary O’Connor to introduce the event, discussing the importance of Women in Sport to them and not just that, but the importance of putting opinions and ideas into action.

Guests were then invited by Evanne Ni Chuillinn to join in an interactive session, splitting into five groups to offer opinions on one question each, with a list of five questions developed by Sarah and Mary in advance of the event.

  1. We propose setting up a Women In Sport foundation to take the movement forward. Do you agree, should there be an organisation at all? If so, what would the structure be? If not, what other options/alternatives are there.
  2. How do we resource a Women In Sport Foundation? What resources are likely to be required?
  3. We need a plan to progress all of the talk. Discuss a potential vision, mission, values and strategic objectives
  4. There are a lot of different areas when we reference ‘Women In sport’. Name those that you feel should be covered by the work of this organisation or its alternative and why
  5. Are there any initiatives that could be taken forward by this organisation/its alternative that could really make a difference in this area and what are they?

Groups were then requested to present back their opinions and ideas following a 30-minute brainstorm to which Sarah Keane and Mary O’Connor offered closing discussions. Strong thoughts were presented by each group with real vision for change which The Federation and the Olympic Council will action over the coming months.

The event was concluded with a short drinks reception.

Agreed action:-

All feedback will be considered and a position paper will be prepared on this topic and will be available in due course.

Mary O Connor                                                                           Sarah Keane

CEO Federation of Irish Sport.                                                    President

Irish Sport HQ, National Sports Campus                                     Olympic Council of Ireland

Blanchardstown, Dublin1 5                                                         Olympic House,

T +35316251155/ M +353860437884                                         Harbour Road, Howth, Co. Dublin.