Corrigan: ‘SJI will work with insurers to protect members at all times’

SHOWJUMPING IRELAND chairman Ronan Corrigan last night reiterated the body’s insurance covered “all sporting activities”, but said “the organisers of any event have a duty to ensure the venue is safe and have made every effort to ensure everybody’s safety”.

In his opening address to the body’s AGM in Mullingar, Co Westmeath, Corrigan said he had met representatives of a new organisation, the Irish Show Jumping Centres Group (ISJCG), and “there was a frank discussion and obligations relating to all parties were thoroughly discussed”.

He noted “instances will always occur where there will be a need to investigate accidents but ultimately the SJI will work with its insurers to protect its members at all times”.

The SJI and Millstreet proprietor Noel C Duggan have been in a protracted dispute centering on the issue of insurance. This came to a head in August when the Corkman staged what he termed an ‘independent’ show, with many SJI members and officials defying the threat of sanction to participate.

In turn, the SJI rescheduled its national championships to run opposite Millstreet, arguably the country’s most popular show, and the organisation is in the process of finalising fines and suspensions for members and officials it deemed breached its rules by participating at Millstreet.

A major bone of contention for the SJI is the fact Mr Duggan has not passed on the SJI levies collected at his 2008 show. However, he is not alone in questioning the adequacy of the association’s insurance and ISJCG chairperson Anne Waistell, of Ballyrafter Equestrian Centre, Lismore, Co Waterford, said the issue has the ability to seriously disrupt the sport.

Mr Corrigan also spoke last night about the controversial provision of consultancy services to the association by himself, explaining this was at the behest of the association’s Management and Finance Committee.

The cost for the services which, in effect saw him acting as a quasi chief executive/officer manager, amounted to €350 a day, totalling €58,450 for the year. However, he said: “I declined to accept the honorarium as paid to chairpersons of the association and indicatedI would like this amount of €12,000 allocated to the National Horse Championships during 2009. This was not agreed at an executive meeting and hence the accounts show zero paid to the chairman as honarium for 2009.”

Under Corrigan’s chairmanship, the association dispensed with its director general and he said his provision of consultancy services, in effect, meant for “considerable savings to the association as heretofore payments were made to director general, office manger and chairman, with associated expenses all to be added... All in all, we have achieved a saving in the region of €55,000”.

He also highlighted the ending of SJI’s three-year funding arrangement with Horse Sport Ireland, which saw it pay over €225,000 last year and allowed it a say in the sport’s international affairs. Corrigan said: “I have written to the chairman [Joe Walsh] of Horse Sport Ireland asking for a review to take place with a view to ensuring that the sport gets the most out of the precious resources available to all our international riders and owners. We have already met the HSI team and are awaiting the 2011 proposals.”

The year-ended October 2009 saw the SJI make a profit of €32,187 on turnover of €2,139,267 The previous year saw a loss of in excess of €250,000.


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