Five Irish women in sports administration

Tracey Kennedy.
Tracey Kennedy.

As the discussion on gender quotas takes off, here are five female sports administrators making their mark...

Suzanne Eade is the group chief financial officer of Horse Racing Ireland. She has control over one of the largest expenditure accounts in Irish sport and is key to the liaison between the sport and its many stakeholders including Government through the Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund.

Working alongside CEO Brian Kavanagh over the past 12 months she has been a key player on projects including the Curragh Racecourse redevelopment and the growth of the Champions’ Weekend to a €4.5 million event. Eade joined Horse-racing Ireland last year from Boots Retail Ireland where she was finance director. She has also held senior roles in the multinational sector including with Procter and Gamble.

Siobhan Earley is head of player development and a member of the senior management team at the Gaelic Players Association. With the new commercial deal signed between the Association and the GAA, there will be a greater resource available then ever before to ensure the wellbeing and development of senior footballers and hurlers as people and leaders within communities. Earley will be a key driver in how that is put to best use. She is an active participant and representative for the GPA in EU Athletes and the Professional Players Federation and was recently involved in the publication of the first EU guide on the management of Dual Careers for Athletes. She was the lead delegate in establishing internal board and financial support for the WGPA and also developed the multi-award winning “We Wear More” mental health and wellbeing campaign alongside her work in player development.

Michelle Tanner is the head of sport at Trinity College Dublin. Tanner was behind the recently launched ‘Raising Our Game’ creating a new strategy for sport in Trinity which will enable an investment of about €13m in sports facilities and programmes over the next three years. She has served on the Board of Student Sport Ireland (SSI) for over 16 years. She is also president of the European Network of Academic Sport Services (ENAS), which has over a 120 members in 22 countries. ENAS is represented at EU level on several EU Expert Groups delivering on the EU Work Plan for Sport (2014 - 2017) and they are partners for the European Week of Sport which takes place this year from September 12 to 16.

Georgina Drumm is president of Athletics Ireland. She became the first woman elected to that position in the history of the sport at the Annual Congress held in April.

To take up the position in an Olympic year and with the sport engaged in a battle to retain its popular status in light of ongoing drugs revelations is to do so at perhaps the most challenging point in its history. Drumm has a long-term association with the sport on a voluntary basis. She has served a variety of roles at county, provincial and national level, including as secretary of Athletics Ireland from 2006.

Last year she was awarded the European Athletics Women’s Leadership Award.

Tracey Kennedy is vice chair of Cork GAA County Board.

If process follows its regular path she will step up to the role of chair in December 2017.

She would not be the first chair of a county board, that honour fell to Roisín Jordan of Tyrone but Cork is one of the biggest and highest profile county’s in the game.

Kennedy is a French and History teacher in Youghal.

Words: Rob Hartnett, founder Sport for Business.


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