The launch co-incided with the publication of the SPG s Consultative Document titled Taking Irish Rugby Forward that identifies the main factors influencing the sport in Ireland and offers ways of addressing the key issues. The consultative process will take place over a four-month period from July to October. Participants and supporters of Irish rugby will be able to contribute to the process through a wide variety of means including the submission of written proposals, consultative meetings in all four provinces, via a dedicated section of the IRFU s web-site (www.irishrugby.ie) and by e-mail. Copies of the SPG s Consultative Document are available from the offices of the IRFU, the four Provincial Branches and can also be downloaded from the below links or the IRFU s web-site.
Speaking at the launch of the consultative process the Chairman of the SPG, Mr John Hussey, who was recently appointed as the first Chairman of the IRFU s new Management Committee, said: I would urge rugby followers to get involved in this process which is a first for Irish rugby. Read the Consultative Document and then let us know how you believe the game should progress. There is much to celebrate about the game in Ireland but also very significant challenges facing us in the years ahead. Our goal is to develop a sustainable model for rugby in Ireland that caters for all its stakeholders. To do this we need to understand how each facet of the game is interlinked and interdependent. I believe that this document goes a considerable way to explaining how the existing model is performing.
Mr Hussey added, We are at a crossroads for Irish rugby that requires us to plan carefully for the future. There are choices to be made on what happens at every level of the game and, in the fast-paced environment in which rugby now operates, it is increasingly important that we make the right decisions in order to maintain and develop our position as a leader in Irish sport and the international rugby community.
The Consultative Document states the SPG s clear view that for Irish rugby to survive and prosper it must succeed in the professional game in order to fund and grow the amateur game. The document sets out 6 interdependent action areas for the game in Ireland and provides an analysis of each as well as a number of options to be considered prior to the IRFU Committee s finalisation of a new strategic plan for the game that will be published in January 2004. The 6 action areas are the domestic game (including clubs and schools); the professional game; facilities; commercial & marketing; finance and finally governance, leadership & operations.
The public consultation process begins with the publication of the SPG s 68 page document. Accompanying the Document is a feedback form designed to capture people s opinions on all the key aspects of the game. In September the SPG will be organising meetings with each of the provincial branches as well as a series of stakeholder meetings in the 4 provinces. The meetings will be in Belfast, Limerick, Cork, Galway and Dublin and will be facilitated by the internationally renowned sports consultants Genesis, Strategic Management Consultants. The dates and venues for these meetings, which have yet to be confirmed, will be advertised in the local press closer to each meeting.
There will be hundreds of smaller meetings taking place all around Ireland. Each club and school around the Ireland is expected to arrange their own consultative meetings prior to attending the provincial meetings and producing their submissions.
In addition to the SPG Chairman, John Hussey, the other members of the IRFU Strategic Planning Group are John Lyons (IRFU Hon. Treasurer), Neil Jackson (IRFU Committee), Philip Browne (IRFU Chief Executive), Eddie Wigglesworth (IRFU Director of Rugby Development), Niall Eyre (IRFU Head of Human Resources) and Morgan Buckley (Atlantic Sports Management & Training Ltd).
People with queries relating to the consultation process should visit the dedicated section on the IRFU web-site (www.irishrugby.ie), call the SPG at the IRFU offices at 01-647 3800 or e-mail the SPG at firstname.lastname@example.org.