Mountaineering Ireland Annual General Meeting took place on 09 March 2014 in the Hotel, Sligo.
Mountaineering Ireland's Honorary Secretary opened proceedings and following the adoption of Standing Orders the minutes of the previous year's AGM (2013) were presented and agreed.
Mountaineering Ireland's President, Ursula MacPherson welcomed everyone. Ursula noted that the contributions of many members made 2013 a memorable year for Mountaineering Ireland. In 2013, she highlighted, the members gave their time to contribute to the next Strategic Development Plan 2014 – 2017. The commitment of people at the six regional meetings helped to shape a strategy that will provide the direction for our work on your behalf over the next four years. Fundamental to all of this work is our commitment to deliver upon the vision for all walkers and climbers to
enjoy secure and responsible access to Ireland’s mountains and the other places we use in Ireland; and
have the opportunity to improve their skills, to explore, to be adventurous and to maximise their potential within our sport.
Mountaineering Ireland raised significant concerns about the future of Comhairle na Tuaithe as a result of little progress on its core objectives, especially that of access and, in particular, the Mountain Access project and a National Indemnity Scheme. While Mountaineering Ireland has been a significant contributor to the outputs of Comhairle na Tuaithe, including the publication of a leaflet on access and liability in 2013 we can’t allow it to simply allow time to slip by.
Ursula said she was always encouraged whenever she saw or read of young people flourishing in our sport. Whether that is a youngster navigating their way through the mountains or topping out on a route, both must be continually encouraged and promoted. 2013 saw the development of supports in this area for coaches and leaders with coaching workshops, a Club Training Officer Workshop, a Scouting Ireland Leaders Moot, and the Mountain Training Conference provided for the benefit of those both volunteering and working within our sport. A new Development Squad structure has been established to harness the potential of young climbers. In addition, the role out of the new Lowland leader Award and the Climbing Wall Award in 2013 will support further growth in youth participation.
The Irish Sports Council and Sport Northern Ireland continue to be strong supporters of Mountaineering Ireland and the impact of these contributions is significant. With such funding so too comes responsibilities, especially in the areas of governance and finance and the Board has taken many steps to ensure our performance and structure is fit for purpose in this regard. The direct investment by both bodies allows Mountaineering Ireland to have an effective staff team who support and represent members through programmes, skills and communications.
Finally, following the adoption of the Strategic Development Plan 2014 – 2017 at an Extraordinary General Meeting during the Autumn Gathering, the direction of travel for Mountaineering Ireland is now set out for the next four years but its delivery requires an on-going input from all of us be it at individual, club or national level. She urged everyone to play their part however small it seems.
Honorary Secretary’s Report
Irene Sorohan firstly acknowledged the commitment given by Sandra Kennedy the former Honorary Secretary.
Irene noted that there were 6 meetings of the Board of Mountaineering Ireland in 2013. She complemented her fellow Board Members for their diligence and time and to especially thanked Chairperson, Ross Millar for the extra hours he contributes outside of Board meetings.
She reported to the Members that the administration of the Company is sound and that board members are cognisant of their duties as directors of a company limited by guarantee and a sporting organisation supported by both the Irish Sports Council and Sport Northern Ireland. Good governance is critical to the sound management and sustainability of the organisation and she reported that, in her opinion, governance within Mountaineering Ireland is appropriate.
To overview Mountaineering Ireland’s broader governance structures during 2013, she noted that the Annual General Meeting / Spring Gathering was held in Gartan Outdoor Education Centre, Donegal and the Autumn Gathering in 2013 was hosted by the Kenmare Walking Club and during it an EGM was held where Mountaineering Ireland’s Strategic Development Plan for 2014 - 2017 was adopted by the membership. In addition, there were two members’ forums and 6 regional meetings held in 2013.
She further assured the Membership that:
All legal and procedural requirements have been followed, including reporting and submissions to the Companies Registration Office;
The Board has taken full account of the necessary skills base in terms of voluntary Governance and will continue to refine this;
The organisation is on a sound footing.
Honorary Treasurer’s Report and Presentation & Approval of Financial Statements
Mountaineering Ireland’s Treasurer, David Batt, presented the 2013 audited accounts.
David gave a detailed breakdown of income and expenditure. He outlined that Mountaineering Ireland’s accounts reflect an income of €811k, an expenditure of just over €807k with a surplus of €3k. David also highlighted how the membership fee breaks-down. Following an opportunity for questions and answers on the audited accounts the accounts were proposed and approved.
Whiteside Cullinan, Chartered Accountants was then proposed and approved as Mountaineering Ireland's Auditor for 2014.
Election to the Board of Mountaineering Ireland (2014 – 2016)
The following were elected as board members;
President – Ursula MacPherson
Honorary Secretary – Irene Sorohan
Honorary Treasurer – Nicky Hore
‘That new club members can join Mountaineering Ireland from 01 September for the following club year (a maximum of 14 months) in order to address concerns of Sligo MC and others.’
Michael Mulligan (Sligo MC) proposed the motion highlighting the difficulty it will resolve for Sligo Mountaineering Club and also, he felt, in student clubs. Eamon Gaughan (Sligo MC) seconded the motion highlighting how the proposal will support club administrators.
The motion was carried by a unanimous show of hands.
Safeguarding and Anti-Doping Statements
Karl Boyle outlined that Mountaineering Ireland is committed to the development and application of best practice and ensuring appropriate levels of behaviour, practice and conduct required from young participants, officials, coaches, trainers, mentors, parents/guardians and clubs. Mountaineering Ireland's youth policy complements the joint Irish Sports Council & Sport NI Code of Ethics & Good Practice for Children's Sport. He noted that this policy will be reviewed in 2014 and encouraged all clubs to engage with the review process.
Karl, as Mountaineering Ireland's Anti-Doping Officer confirmed that Mountaineering Ireland fully subscribes to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) procedures and promotes a drug free sport. He added that Mountaineering Ireland is developing an anti-doping education programme for members of the talent development squad, those competing internationally and as part of coach education.
Irene Sorohan then brought the meeting to a close.