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Post by Seanie » Sat May 14, 2011 10:20 pm

What do I think about the recentIrish Canoe Union High Court case, and what do I think the ICU should do to move forward?

We need a new ICU. And here are some of the steps I suggest:
  • The ICU chairperson should resign immediately.
  • He should have resigned last Friday. Eamon Devoy has been the ICU chairman since 2004, over 6 years. All of this mess happened during his watch. He was either absent, preoccupied, incompetent or inept. He ignored warnings and displayed sickening arrogance at times. He can’t continue in his role as ICU chair person, he bears partial responsibility. He has done considerable work in a voluntary capacity, that's appreciated, but there has to be accountability. He should resign.
  • Fire the CEO.
  • Re-coupe the money that he was over paid/helped himself to.
  • Publish the 2006 Price Waterhouse Coopers governance audit of the ICU on the ICU website.
  • The ICU board needs to get it’s house in order, mop up the mess it made. But do no more than that.
  • The ICU board should not make any further changes to the ICU (new positions, etc.). There are some great people on the board today, but there are a few that need to be shown the door. And we don't want these people shaping the new ICU.
  • Hold the ICU AGM. Re-elect the new executive members that brought about this investigation and the don’t re-elect any executive board members that contributed to this mess. (I’ll publish these names before the election if they have the brass neck to go for re-election).
  • Sue or negotiate a cash settlement with the Auditors that have failed to carry out proper audits of the ICU accounts in recent years. (also report them to their Accountancy body)
  • Investigate further any board members that had finical dealings or party related transactions with the ICU that weren't declared.
  • Report any suspected impropriety, fraud or illegal activities to the Gardai and Director of Corporate enforcement.
  • Open up the ICU to its members. Embrace transparency.
  • Recruit a young, educated CEO that's an active paddler. It’s a small company, no massive financial or business experience is required. Enthusiasm, character and competence should be the key requirement.
  • Carry out another audit of corporate governance. (maybe steer away from Price Waterhouse Coopers....)
  • Reform the ICU structures over the short to medium term.
  • For example, there is massive overlap in some areas. This overlap is due to an inept/lazy/absent executive board, a shit CEO and a TDU that has been underfunded and ineffective for the last number of years.
  • The ICU CEO, the ICU development officer(s), the ICU TDU, the ICU board and ICU executive all have hugely overlapping responsibilities. In some cases this results in some things not being addressed and in other cases it blocks other things from being done.
  • Move away from the Irish Sports Council welfare mindset. A healthy vibrant ICU should be able to finance itself. ISC grants should only make up a fraction of the turn over in the future. Unlike the current situation where the ISC grant makes up for the majority of turnover. A new CEO and Chairperson can lead us toward financial stability and independence.
  • The ICU should be a good employer. Improve the pay and conditions of the existing ICU full time staff. Their pay and conditions were always analysed by looking a the block of cash on the books that was set aside for ICU employment over heads. Requests to give a break down of how it was divided up were rejected by the CEO and chairperson. Little did we know that the CEO was paying himself the lions share.
  • Give the current ICU staff a bonus and a holiday for putting up with this shit storm. What a shit work environment. They are an asset and should be treated as such.
A new ICU is needed, and we should start now.

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Re: A New ICU

Post by mikef » Sun May 15, 2011 7:37 am

I'd like to see a new ICU thats more encompassing of its sub-committees like the Freestyle committee, an ICU thats actively seeking to support the committees, an ICU that reaches out instead of sub-committees having to chase after them for stuff. At times it felt (maybe because of the physical distance) that we were the longest arm of canoeing in Ireland.

I don't know much about all the positions to be filled on the boards etc, but once its all sorted I'd like to see ICU get to work in a public way. More visibility for freestyle and whitewater. I don't expect a new committee to make a million sweeping changes in the short term as with any new committee. But in time I'd like to see them tackle the issues of the day. In particular in relation to the incidents like that on the River Clodagh that the MCIB came out for this week. How do we approach educating the public on the dangers of rivers in association with Irish Water Safety resources should be pooled.

In the longer term I'd like to see moves in relation to support and funding for a wider, more advanced river gauge network, river access and egress, issues around security & parking at get on and get off of rivers. Support for people looking for development of freestyle locations.

I don't know if these ideas are outside the remit of the ICU in the next few years but a stronger statutory body supporting our sport is all people want to see.


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Re: A New ICU

Post by paddy » Sun May 15, 2011 9:54 pm

hmm...do you think that the frontpage of irishwhitewater.com is the right place to give your opinion on the matter.. if so..maybe you should change the name of the site. I realise that the site is your creation seanie..but should the placement of your opinion not take place in the forum aswel

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Re: A New ICU

Post by Seanie » Mon May 16, 2011 3:13 am

paddy wrote:hmm...do you think that the frontpage of irishwhitewater.com is the right place to give your opinion on the matter.. if so..maybe you should change the name of the site. I realise that the site is your creation seanie..but should the placement of your opinion not take place in the forum aswel
Yes, I do think its the right place for me to post that story. Yes, its out of the norm to find such a long opinion piece on the front page of the site. But I have posted similar opinions pieces before, I think the reasons were there justified then and its justified now also.

This issue is of immense importance to the Irish whitewater community. I could have simply reported on the ICU 'issues', but I've done that in the past with little to no traction. I think my suggestions offer a better narrative to the story than some drawn out article about AGMs and contracts.

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Re: A New ICU

Post by leftism » Mon May 16, 2011 5:06 pm

Apologies about the delay posting!

I think Sean makes some excellent suggestions regarding a reform of the Canoe Union. However i think we are far from out of the woods yet with regards to the currently suspended CEO and talk of a complete reform in governance may be a bit premature!

The decision by the High Court to reject Mick's injunction has certainly moved the whole process in the right direction and has completely validated the Executive's handling of the investigation and subsequent disciplinary procedures. In addition, the legal cost for this High Court action (initiated by Mick) are no longer the Canoe Union's burden to deal with. Hopefully this will end some of the concerns raised by clubs who were calling for an EGM and the sacking of the current executive!

But where does this leave us? As much as i would love to see a swift resolution and a full transparent report made available to the membership of the ICU, that is not likely to happen any time soon. The victory in the High Court simply means that the disciplinary procedure against Mick can continue and is legally justified. So the independent disciplinary committee will try to call Mick back in and come to a decision as to what the disciplinary measures should be. Based on the severity of the allegations against Mick, it would seem likely that the decision will be to sack him (this is speculation). If that is the course of action, we can predict another court case (either in the labour court or high court) initiated by Mick against the ICU for wrongful dismissal. That case will take more time to resolve with the probable outcome being another victory for the ICU and more legal costs heaped on Mick... Meanwhile the membership of the ICU will grow more and more frustrated and there will be further calls to drop the whole thing!

But this must not happen! Unfortunately our courts are slow and costly. Legal cases take time to be processed, but that is the way of the world. We have to be patient and understand that these things take time. Mick has to be given his fair right to appeal and the ICU has a legal obligation to deal with their employee in a fair and reasonable way. This means that we cannot expect a large scale report of all allegations any time soon, we cannot expect that Mick will simply disappear and we cannot expect a complete reformation of governance overnight. We cleared another hurdle on Friday and things are moving in the right direction. What we need now is some patience and focus! Kneejerk reactions and calls for EGMs will do us all no good.

Lets be happy that the actions of our federation have been justified in the highest court in the country and let them get on with the next step in trying to sort this whole mess out! The sooner that happens and the sooner a complete report is made available to the broader membership, the better for our sport!

P.S- Based on the High Court decision on Friday, I would personally like to see some clarification on the position from the 15 clubs calling for an EGM. Are they still unhappy with the way in which the executive have dealt with this investigation? If so, their opinions contradict the statement made by the Mr. Justice Murphy on Friday...

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