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Neville Maxwell is new president of Rowing Ireland after turbulent year


Neville Maxwell

Neville Maxwell

Neville Maxwell

Neville Maxwell is the new president of Rowing Ireland. At the body’s AGM in Dublin, proposals for major constitutional change were passed and details were given of disciplinary action during a turbulent year.

Maxwell, twice an Olympian and a former chair of the International Rowing Committee, said he was delighted to become president. He thanked his opponent, Mick O’Callaghan, for a fair campaign. O’Callaghan had run on the issue of giving clubs more power. “We need to work together to bring our sport forward,” Maxwell said.

Garth Young, the current chair of the High Performance Committee, spoke of the “constant undermining of the board”. Eighty thousand euro was paid for an investigation by a solicitor and 78 pages of alleged wrongdoing were generated. These related to data breaches, inappropriate sharing of information and email misuse. “Our CEO has been threatened,” he added.

Martin Hogan, who chaired the meeting, said that due to disciplinary issues one person had stepped back from all activity in rowing for five years and another has agreed to step back from committee and branch activity for two years.

Young and Hogan both championed a change in the constitution and delegates complied. A majority of 75 per cent was needed and they adopted the new constitution by 76.7 per cent; stripped the president of their automatic role as chair; added directorships for coastal/offshore rowing and athletes and removed the role of honorary treasure from the next AGM on.

Paul Kavanagh beat incumbent Leo Gibson in the election for treasurer, while incumbent Nessa Foley won her battle with Emily Dulohery for secretary.

A number of delegates questioned the status of the constitution which was passed last year. Hogan said the board had taken advice that changes should be put before the 2022 meeting.

Maxwell said that rowing had amazing volunteers and there was an opportunity for all aspects of the sport. “We are in a great spot and we work together we can be the number one sport for clubs as well as internationals.”

O’Callaghan offered his congratulations. “We had a fair contest. We spoke on the phone a few weeks ago, agreed it would all be positive. We totally support new board.”

“We need to have honesty, integrity and accountability,” he said. “I will be watching you closely, Neville. And if there is anything you want from me come and ask.”

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Voting numbers, with over 70 clubs participating in each of the votes, was historically high. Club representatives packed into the conference centre at the Sport Ireland campus and the meeting was also carried on Zoom.

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