12 December 2016
By Elaine Murphy
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Sport, Kevin O’Keeffe has cautiously welcomed the announcement by Minister for Sport, Patrick O’Donovan that he would like to see a greater number of women serving on the boards of national sports organisations but feels that discussions at an Oireachtas Committee are required.
“I think it’s clear that we need more women taking active roles in decision making across Irish society. Within the area of sport, there has been a historic lack of representation of women on national boards,” said the Cork East TD.
“I believe Minister O’Donovan can ensure he obtains sectoral buy-in by not rushing it, and extending the deadline for sporting NGOs to adhere to the proposals.”
“No discussions on this issue have taken place at the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport. Threatening to cut funding to sports organisations, following a 17% cut in Budget 2017, will damage the Irish sporting sector at a time when investment is urgently needed.”
“If the Minister had brought his suggestions before the Oireachtas Committee, he would have heard calls from members, me included, that instead of a stick, the carrot should be used.”
“Instead of penalising organisations who fail to improve gender equality in their organisations, how about we incentivise those organisations that actively seek equality in their governance structures.”
“Ensuring greater participation at every level of sport in Ireland is required. More women need to be empowered to take up leadership roles in local and regional sports bodies, become coaches and mentors. This will ensure that girls in sport see female role models at every level.”
“Minister O’Donovan should bring his proposals to the Joint Oireachtas Committee, and let the members tease out these issues, hear from the affected stakeholders, so that when the final decision is made, everyone is bought into the process,” concluded O’Keeffe.