IRFU confident that return of spectators in 2022 will limit redundancies

Union say that 20 non-playing staff to leave on both voluntary and compulsory basis

On the premise that spectators will be permitted to return to grounds in time for next year’s Six Nations, the IRFU are hopeful that there will no further redundancies in addition to the 20 or so non-playing staff who are part of a new redundancy package.

The ongoing impact of the pandemic and the absence of fans has led to the IRFU reducing its 480-strong workforce. The redundancy packages are both both voluntary and compulsory, and will impact administrative and performance staff.

While none of the 210 full-time and part-time players have been affected, or members of the professional coaching staffs at international level or across the four provinces, the redundancies do include employees who had been part of the development staff in both the domestic game and performance department under David Nucifora.

In addition, all departments have also been asked to reduce costs by at least 10 per cent.

In its initial response to last year’s shutdown, the IRFU moved to a four-day week and a corresponding reduction in pay of 20 per cent across all non-paying staff.

Last October the IRFU annual report for the 2019-20 season laid bare the financial effect of the coronavirus pandemic on the game here in confirming that the Union lost €35.7 million for the accounting period, which was extended to 15 months.

Last month, the IRFU chief executive Philip Browne said the Union is expecting a €29 million loss for 2021 and didn't envisage supporters returning before 2022.

The recent job losses feature many long-serving IRFU employees who have been working for the Union for 15 years or more.

“It’s about 20 people, which have been through a combination of voluntary and compulsory redundancy, so it’s across the business,” said an IRFU spokesperson.

Some have already left the Union in the last few days and others will do so over the next few months. These latest moves should forestall any further redundancies.

“The IRFU are planning on the return of spectators no sooner than 2022, which is being prudent. So from a budgeting point of view, if we get people back into the stadiums for the 2022 Six Nations, then hopefully no further redundancies will be required.”