Sport Rugby

Friday 25 May 2018

IRFU apologises for 'mistakenly' advertising unpaid internship role

IRFU apologise for 'mistakingly' advertising unpaid internship role
IRFU apologise for 'mistakingly' advertising unpaid internship role

Ian Begley

The IRFU has apologised for "mistakenly advertising" an unpaid, highly-skilled internship position.

The rugby union is under fire after publishing a notice for the voluntary role of a 'National Sports Science Intern'. 

The advertisement stated that the successful candidate must commit to the unpaid programme for 40-hours-per-week for six months. 

The primary objective of this position was to help "evolve and manage" the centralised data sources used to guide the physical preparation of Irish rugby players. 

Some of the key and desirable qualities included: 

  • A MSc or PhD in a sports or exercise science related area
  • Experience in building linear, multivariate and neural network models
  • A verifiable record of delivering sport-science support and programme leadership for a high-performance rugby team.
  • A known record of published research in the area of performance science, or a related performance area. 

After the advertisement was posted, many people online hit out at the IRFU, including Labour TD Alan Kelly. 

"Completely disagree with this," he Tweeted.

"It's totally wrong. Gov Dept's should monitor this activity when looking at funding allocations etc. 

"Will write to TTAS Oireachtas Committee and ask them to look at it," Mr Kelly wrote. 

The IRFU subsequently deleted the advertisement from their website. 

The rugby union told Independent.ie that the intern position was issued in error. 

"The IRFU have removed an advert for a National Sports Science Intern which was released for publication in error last week," a spokesperson said.

 "The IRFU do not have any unpaid internship positions.  The requirements for this exciting role are yet to be finalised, and an approved job description is expected to be published in the coming weeks.  

"We apologise for any confusion caused by this mistake."

A spokesperson from the Department of Employment Affairs & Social Protection there is no legal definition of the term 'intern' in Irish legislation. 

He also said they are entitled to the national minimum wage.

"Individuals described as 'interns' are not exempted or treated as separate categories of workers under Irish employment law. 

"Ireland's body of employment rights legislation protects all employees who are legally employed on an employer-employee basis, regardless of what title is given to them. 

"Therefore, once it is clear that a person is working under a contract of employment (written or verbal), on a full-time or part-time basis, that person has the same protection under employment law as other employees, including entitlement to the national minimum wage."  

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