Sarah Keane to be re-elected as president of Olympic Federation of Ireland

Keane became first female president of OFI in 2017 after Pat Hickey stepped down

Olympic Federation of Ireland president Sarah Keane. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Olympic Federation of Ireland president Sarah Keane. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

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The position of Sarah Keane at the top of the Olympic Federation of Ireland (OFI) will remain unchanged for the next four years. Keane was elected as the first female president of the OFI in February 2017.

Her arrival came after a lengthy term by former president Pat Hickey, who had been in place for 27 years until his arrest in 2016 as part of an investigation into alleged ticket touting during the Rio Olympics. Hickey stood down from the position following the Rio controversy.

The OFI announced the list of candidates running for places on its Executive Committee to serve a four-year term through to 2024, with the position of Keane uncontested. When she was first elected, acting president Willie O’Brien and Basketball Ireland CEO Bernard O’Byrne also ran for the office.

Whilst a significant amount has been done and achieved, there is more to do, and we are very ambitious for Team Ireland and Irish Olympic sport

The Olympic Council of Ireland was then renamed the OFI during the most turbulent period in its history. Legal and accountancy costs mounted in the two-year period following Rio, coming to €1.86 million, with €462,000 of that reimbursed from insurers. The final extent of the costs will only come clear once the legal proceedings in Brazil come to a full conclusion.

The extraordinary general meeting (egm),which will be conducted remotely, is scheduled to take place on December 8th. The process is being overseen by appointed independent scrutinisers Arthur Cox Solicitors.

Gender balance

This will also be the first election since OFI members voted unanimously in September to adopt 40 per cent minimum gender balance for Executive Committee membership. This goes further than the 30 per cent goal for national committees as stated by the International Olympic Committee’s Agenda 2020.

“I’m honoured to be uncontested to remain on in the position of president with the Olympic Federation of Ireland for the next Olympic cycle. We are in the middle of our 2018-2028 strategy, and this is something I would like to see through,” said Keane, who was also the first female chief executive at Swim Ireland following the dissolution of the Irish Amateur Swimming Association in 1999 and was seen as one of the frontrunners for the now-filled CEO position in the FAI.

After this, my term limit is up – and this is also important, as it will ensure that others have an opportunity to bring something new and different

“For lots of reasons this has been an unusual cycle, and whilst a significant amount has been done and achieved, there is more to do, and we are very ambitious for Team Ireland and Irish Olympic sport. We will have a good level of turnover on the board, but it is good also that we have continuity. After this, my term limit is up – and this is also important, as it will ensure that others have an opportunity to bring something new and different to the role and the organisation.”

Top positions

Incumbent officers in of all of the other top positions will also remain in place including first vice-president Colm Barrington (sailing), second vice-president Robert Norwood (snowsports) and honorary general secretary Sarah O’Shea (badminton). The three were the only candidates to have put their names forward for the roles.

Four members of the current Executive Committee will not be running as candidates, including honorary treasurer Billy Kennedy, who was a survivor from the Hickey era and served the organisation for more than 20 years. Under previously agreed constitutional amendments, the treasurer officer position will be phased out.

Former Olympic boxer Darren O’Neill, who competed in the London Olympics in 2012, is also stepping down, as is cycling’s Denis Toomey and hockey’s Rob Johnson. Following the elections, the OFI will also be able to nominate two independent directors to its Executive Committee under changes made to its constitution last year.

List of candidates for election to the OFI Executive Committee

Office of president: Sarah Keane (uncontested – nominated by Swimming)
Office of first vice-president: Colm Barrington (uncontested – nominated by Sailing)
Office of second vice-president: Robert Norwood (uncontested – nominated by Snowsports)
Office of honorary general secretary: Sarah O’Shea (uncontested – nominated by Badminton)
Non-officer positions: Moira Aston (nominated by Canoeing); Michelle Carpenter (nominated by Rowing); Georgina Drumm (nominated by Athletics); Ciaran Gallagher (nominated by Gymnastics); Linda Morgan (nominated by Boxing); PJ Nolan (nominated by Cycling); PJ Reidy (nominated by Basketball); Joe Reynolds (nominated by Horse Sport); Lochlann Walsh (nominated by Triathlon)

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