Wednesday 26 July 2017

Macken 'forced to withdraw' from race for top job

Louise Parkes

Irish showjumping legend Eddie Macken has withdrawn from selection for the Irish chef d'equipe position, claiming the governing body, Horse Sport Ireland, has "serious issues of deficiency to address".

The Canadian-based 63-year-old, who was the golden boy of Irish sport throughout the 1970s as he blazed a trail with his four-time Hickstead Derby winner Boomerang and who led the Irish team to a historic hat-trick of Aga Khan Cup victories, says he has been "forced to withdraw" his name.

In a letter circulated on Thursday night, the Longford man detailed the circumstances surrounding his application for the post, which is up for grabs after four years with Robert Splaine at the helm.

Mr Macken said the job was advertised on December 9, 2012, with a closing date of December 20 and that he put in his application on December 12.

On January 2 he had a call from the Executive Employment Agency handling the position to ask if he had received an email that had not arrived. Interviews were being held two days later, but with "zero notice and previous commitments" it was impossible for him to attend, and his interview was instead staged through a conference call on January 9.

He said he was told a follow-up interview would take place "within a week or 10 days" and that he would receive an outline of topics for discussion.


That information did not arrive, and with second interviews now scheduled for February 9-11, other "professional commitments with existing clients" will prevent him from attending.

"I am acutely aware that my decision has disappointed the majority of Team Ireland international riders who encouraged and endorsed my application. This I deeply regret", he wrote.

"However I wish to place on public record my utter frustration in trying to cope with the manner in which HSI conduct their business which has effectively forced me out of the selection process", he added.

In response yesterday, a HSI spokesman said an email was sent to all candidates on December 20 with proposed interview dates, and that "attempts" were made to contact Mr Macken by phone that day.

"After Christmas he was offered the opportunity to set his own date for interview in Ireland, but when he couldn't travel the conference call took place instead."

The spokesman said dates were proposed for the second interview, with the offer to accommodate him if it didn't suit.

"At no stage did Eddie propose any other date nor did he advise that he had a personal time deadline for continuing the process," the spokesman added.

Irish Independent

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