Week’s events; Irish Rail, sports policy, awards, Dublin Chamber& the IABA

7th November, 2015

The week started and ended with Irish Rail. On Monday afternoon I presented the Iarnród Éireann awards to best station winners, which saw Dundalk’s Clarke Station being named as the Overall Best Train Station in Ireland. It was the second year I have been involved with the event, which is a great incentive for staff to go that bit further in providing excellent service to customers and keeping their stations in good order. The latter end of the week was taken up with the resumption of talks at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) between Irish Rail management and trade unions in a bid to avert the industrial strike that had been planned for Friday morning. Another all-nighter at the WRC on Thursday night into Friday morning, saw the proposed action called off at 4am, with both sides agreeing to continue talks at the Labour Court, which should happen at the earliest opportunity. This dispute is having a negative impact on commuters and is also costing the company, whose finances are still in a difficult state, even more money. It was good news that trains were running on Friday, however, for many people, who had already made alternative arrangements, the resolution came too late in the day.

There was plenty happening on the sporting front this week which kicked off with Minister Ring and I hosting a consultation day out at the National Sports Campus to hear the views of stakeholders on our new national sports policy. This will be the first time in 20 years that a policy of this type is being complied and it will cover topics such as participation in sport, volunteers, high performance sports, the future development of the National Sports Campus and regional and local facilities and financing sport. While there we also attended the first meeting of the new board of Sport Ireland, which is the body that results from the merging of the Irish Sports Council and the National Sports Campus Development Authority.

Mid week, Minister Ring and I also sat down with the IABA and Sport Ireland to listen to what they had to say on the recent resignation of Billy Walsh. It was a useful process which is expected to lead to both sides agreeing a way forward for Irish boxing, which is ultimately everyone’s objective.

On Thursday night I attended the Federation of Irish Sport’s 2015 Sport Industry Awards. Winners were drawn from the GAA, IRFU, Horse Sport Ireland and Cricket Ireland for initiatives on growing participation in sport, use of social media and innovation in sport. The Best Global Sports Campaign of the Year went to Sport England’s ground-breaking “This Girl Can” campaign, which encourages women of all abilities and fitness levels to engage with sport regularly. You can check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=toH4GcPQXpc.

On Friday morning I had a breakfast meeting with Dublin Chamber to discuss the Government’s €10 billion Transport Capital Plan, the future of our city and the damage that could be inflicted on our key infrastructure projects in the years ahead if an unstable Government results from the next election.

The GAA All Stars’ Convention was my final stop on Friday evening, after another packed week, which was a celebration of our leading footballers and hurlers. It was a fantastic opportunity to show our appreciation for the devotion they show to their sport and for the many thrilling games they have given us over the past year.