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ISA not to pursue HQ move to Galway

Last weekend the Irish Sailing Association announced it would not pursue the formation of a National Watersports Centre and move of offices to Galway. ISA CEO Harry Hermon said he would be advising the ISA board that a survey of ISA members showed there was little appetite for the development.

Hermon delivered a presentation at the ISA Annual General Meeting in Naas, in which he summarised the public responses to the project. The ISA visited several clubs to solicit feedback on plans to move the ISA offices and establish a National Watersports Centre (NWC).  The potential benefits, it was felt, outweighed the risks to the organisation, when all was weighed up. Although some members agreed that a move to Galway might assist in promoting sailing as a more national sport, it was felt that the proposed NWC was unnecessary, and could compete with clubs and teaching establishments at a time when such competition would be hugely detrimental. It was also felt that the high performance element of the centre was not necessary, with top Irish sailors training abroad in warmer climes during winter months and regionally during the Irish spring and summer.

Additionally, it was felt that the development of such a centre would put acute financial pressure on the association, which posted a surplus of just €7,296 in 2009 and it was also felt that locating it in Galway, the only option that came close to being financially viable, and moving the ISA offices to Galway, was not in the Association’s best interests. Staffing issues came to the fore internally when the move was raised as a possibility, with ‘robust internal debate’ taking place, according to Hermon.

The ISA may yet move its headquarters to resolve space issues, but it is expected to stay in Dublin, close to sporting bodies and various groups to which the ISA both reports and lobbies for funding and support.

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