SJI executive to discuss AGM ‘fines’ motion

THE Showjumping Ireland (SJI) national executive is to meet on October 6, when they will discuss the directive given by members at Tuesday’s AGM that fines and sanctions be scrapped for members and officials who participated at last month’s “independent” Millstreet Show.

A motion put forward by Sheila White that the executive “wipe out” fines/suspensions upon receipt of outstanding levies from Green Glens proprietor Noel C Duggan was passed by a huge majority at the AGM in Mullingar, Co Westmeath.

Mr Duggan had withheld the levies from his 2008 show, as he questioned the adequacy of the SJI’s insurance cover, claiming he had not been indemnified following an accident at his 2007 show.

The AGM was a fractious affair lasting four hours, with the vast majority of members extremely vocal in outlining their dissatisfaction that this dispute had not been resolved a long time ago. In venting their anger, they subjected chairman Ronan Corrigan’s tenure to much scrutiny and the Kildare man was stoic as he answered questions that, in many cases, could also have been posed to the executive at large.

The feeling afterwards was that the members present wanted the door firmly closed on the affair. As such, it must be hoped that the disputing parties will fulfil their responsibility and adhere to the spirit of the motion and its inherent message that this should go no further. Undoubtedly, some would argue the motion allows rule-breaking to go unpunished, but most would agree it was the most pragmatic option.

Yesterday, Mr Corrigan said: “The next national executive meeting is on October 6 and I hope we will be able to finalise everything at that date. The executive has to listen to the members.”

Mr Duggan said: “I am extremely happy with the outcome of the meeting. It was achieved through the voice of the members.”

It was notable, too, that after the AGM, the chairperson of the newly-formed Irish Show Jumping Centres Group (ISJCG) Anne Waistell spoke of her satisfaction with the SJI insurance. In the run-up to the AGM, she had also expressed doubts regarding the adequacy of the SJI cover and said it had the potential to seriously disrupt the sport. However, in the light of discussions between the ISJCG and the SJI, she said on Tuesday: “The ISJCG is satisfied that, in principle, the SJI insurance meets our needs, but a few minor points need clarification.”

Another crucial issue at the AGM was the motion that the maximum term of the SJI chairman be extended from three years to five years. After it emerged members had not been given the specified 21-day notice of the AGM, a vote was taken on whether the motion should be put to the floor and, when the requisite 90% in support of this was not achieved, the motion was put aside.

The controversial issue of the provision of consultancy services to the association by the chairman Ronan Corrigan also figured prominently. Mr Corrigan explained his role as a consultant was at the behest of the association’s management and finance committee. The cost for the services amounted to €350 a day, totalling €58,450, excluding VAT, for the year-ending October 2009.

He pointed out in his opening address that he had declined to accept the €12,000 honorarium paid to chairpersons of the association. 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” and he noted that, in 2008, the director general was paid in excess of €97,000, plus pension and phone entitlements.

Corrigan yesterday said it would be up to the management and finance committee and the national executive to decide if the arrangement should continue and he pointed out that, in the provision of consultancy services, he was not acting as a chief executive.

As for the accounts, the year-ended October 2009 saw the SJI make an operating profit of €32,187 on turnover of €2,139,267. The previous year saw a loss of over €250,000.

Corrigan has also written to Horse Sport Ireland (HSI) chairman Joe Walsh seeking a review of SJI’s involvement in international affairs, as the current three-year deal comes to a close. This year, SJI was due to pay €250,000 to HSI for a say in international participation, with €225,000 paid in 2009, and €200,000 in 2008.

* THE West Cork Horse Breeders are staging a horse sale at Millstreet’s Green Glens Arena on October 9. It is for sport horses from foals upwards and, according to PRO Yana Verling, it comes as a “result of demand from breeders”.

“While recognising the difficult trading conditions in this present climate, we would like to encourage prospective buyers to come to this sale and view quality horses from the home of good breeding,” she said.

West Cork exhibitors swept the boards at this year’s Dublin Horse Show, claiming the yearling lightweight class, the two-year-old lightweight class and the overall champion young horse at the show, while, for the second year in a row, the breeders championship for the best mare and foal also went to West Cork.


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