Irish Sailing Policy Groups


The Irish Sailing Policy Groups have been established by and exist under the authority of the Board of Directors of the Irish Sailing (the Board). The Board has reviewed and approved these Terms of Reference.

General Purpose of Policy Groups:
The purpose of the Policy Groups is to:

  • Help connect the Association (the Board and the professional staff) with the members and stakeholders.
  • Provide advice and expertise to the Board on specialist areas and points of contact for the staff.
  • Help harness the experience and energy of volunteers to supplement the resources of the professional staff
  • Ensure the activities of the association remain relevant to the membership
  • Develop potential future Board members.



In carrying out its responsibilities, the Irish Sailing Policy Groups shall adopt the following Operating Procedures:

  1. A member of the Irish Sailing Board will be appointed to act as chair and/or a representative for each of the Irish Sailing Policy Groups, and the Board will approve its membership.
  2. The Chairperson may serve in such a capacity until he/she either agrees with the Board to step down, or their term on the Board comes to an end as appropriate.
  3. The membership for each group shall be nominated by the Chairperson in consultation with the Board for approval.
  4. Members should understand that he or she has been appointed in a voluntary capacity
  5. It is the intention of the Board to review the Composition of the Policy Groups annually based on the on-going needs, work plan and focus for the new term. To ensure continuity and momentum it is likely that a balance will be taken between representation, skills and commitment in reviewing Composition and appointing some new members for the new term
  6. Members will respect and keep confidential any information he or she receives as a result of being a member of a Policy Group, at least until that information becomes public. Any public statements will be directed through the Group Chairperson to the Board or Irish Sailing staff as appropriate.
  7. Any input to the Group by a member should be offered solely in the interests of the sport nationally and internationally and therefore not biased. In the event of a conflict of interest or perceived conflict of interest the Group member concerned shall bring this immediately to the attention of the Chairperson of the Group for further clarification or action.
  8. In the event of the Chairperson being unable to attend a meeting, he/she will appoint another member to chair the meeting.
  9. Minutes of Policy Group meetings should be filed with the Irish Sailing Office, and will be made available to the Board. Or in the event of group consultation by electronic means the Chairperson should copy the Irish Sailing CEO on all correspondence.
  10. The Chairperson or Board representative of each Policy Group should report progress against key focus areas to the Board either at the Board meeting immediately following a policy group meeting, or at other times with the agreement of Irish Sailing President & CEO.
  11. Working Groups may be appointed by Policy Groups or by the Board to carry out specified tasks as necessary and report to the Policy Group or the Board within a given timeframe.
  12. Policy Group members may be required to action some of the initiatives proposed subject to availability of professional support from the office, but should not initiate action or give commitments without prior approval and agreement form the CEO.
  13. The Policy Group is as it name suggests there to create policy, give advice to the organisation and represent the thinking of the community they represent. The Policy Group is not empowered to direct Irish Sailing Staff in their day to day activity unless expressly asked to do so by the CEO.
  14. The Irish Sailing Staff member on each Policy Group has a responsibility to ensure the CEO is informed of their involvement on each of their Policy Groups


Policy Groups should contain people with experience in the different areas of responsibility and where possible a regional spread. Each group should include:

  • A chairman, being the Irish Sailing Board member (or person appointed by the Board) with specific Board responsibility for that aspect of the associations strategic plan.
  • One member of staff being the staff member with specific responsibility for that aspect of the associations strategic plan.
  • A number of volunteer members each with relevant expertise in the different key elements of that aspect of the associations strategic plan.
  • The expertise required should be linked to the activities contained in the the Strategic Plan for that respective Policy Group.


Areas of Activity

The ongoing focus of the Policy Groups should be to the longer term goals of the Strategic Plan. Following each AGM the Board in consultation with the CEO should redefine the key focus areas for each group for the coming year.


The membership of each group should be reconstituted each year following the AGM and the maximum term of membership would normally be three years but may be extended by agreement. The membership of the group should be reviewed annually to ensure the group has the necessary expertise and representation to properly support the Board and Professional staff for the year ahead, and to provide new thinking and ideas.

Policy Groups – Terms of Reference 2022
Policy Groups

1. Training Policy Group:

Members:  James Lyons (Chair), Rupert Musgrave, Dennis Dillon, Jeff Cochrane, Tadg Murphy and Dave Ballesty, with Dave Garvey in attendance.

2020 Focus Areas:

  • Covid-19 impact on delivery of Irish Sailing training schemes.
  • Exploration of blended learning to complement training courses.
  • Review of Instructor Trainers Contract and development of trainers’ selection policy.
  • Establish a review process for the participation tracking policy to include a review of the platform used (Checklick) –Implementation for 2022 season.
  • Establish a review process for the Small Boat Sailing Scheme, implementation for 2022 season.


2. Race Officials Policy Group

Members: David Lovegrove (Chair), David O’Brien (Board member), Gordon Davies, Mal Nowlan, Suzanne Mc Garry, Fergus O’Kelly, Philip Scallan, Liam Maloney, Ciarán McSweeney and Cxema Pico, with Sarah-Louise Rossiter in attendance

Focus Areas:

  • Recommend qualifications and standards for the appointment of Irish Sailing race officials.
  • Develop policy on all racing matters for approval by the Board of IS
  • Organise an Irish Sailing Race Event Management & Support Conference
  • Appoint Race Officials in accordance with agreed validation process
  • Develop a structure for Event Safety Leaders
  • Administer racing rules and appeal process

3. Cruising & Representation Policy Group:

Members: Vera Quinlan (Chair), Alex Blackwell, Norman Keane, John Leahy and John Murphy, with Gail MacAllister in attendance.

Focus Areas:


  • Develop Irish Sailing's function in support of leisure boaters and policies to encourage participation in cruising activities
  • Design, organise and run an annual Cruising Conference
  • Take input from affiliated organisations of cruising sailors in Ireland, including clubs and cruising schools
  • Support Irish Sailing's training courses up to Yachtmaster Ocean level
  • Encourage and support the development of commercial and State strategies for the provision of marine leisure infrastructure
  • Liaise with Irish Sailing on Cruising and Leisure Boating.


  • Consider requests for submissions issued by government and other authorities, decide if a response is required and respond as appropriate.
  • Monitor government and regulatory issues affecting leisure boaters of all kinds and initiate and develop responses as required.
  • Develop and draft strategies and tactics to address any regulatory and other issues affecting leisure boaters.

4. Racing Rules Committee and Appeal Board:

Members: Gordon Davies (Chair), Mike O'Connor, Cxema Pico, Chris Lindsay, Bill O' Hara, Ailbe Millerick, Emmet Dalton, Ed Alcock, Anthony O' Leary, Geoff O'Donoghue, Diane Kissane and David Lovegrove, with Sarah-Louise Rossiter in attendance.

Focus Areas:

  • Promoting and implementing and answering questions on the Racing Rules of Sailing.
  • Hearing of appealed decisions and resolving disagreements.
  • Work with clubs and classes who wish to develop or test proposed rules.
  • Define and monitor the implementation of policy and strategy for the RRS in Ireland.
  • Promote interest in, understanding of and compliance with the RRS. This may include providing content for Irish Sailing publications.
  • Draft submissions for Irish Sailing Prescriptions for approval by the Irish Sailing Board.
  • Assist event organisers who wish to obtain approval for denial of right of appeal or for the appointment of an International Jury.
  • Draft Irish Sailing submissions to World Sailing for changes to the RRS and monitor other submissions.

5. ICRA – Irish Cruiser Racing Association

ICRA Executives: Richard Colwell (Commodore), Cxema Pico (Hon Secretary), John Leech (Hon Treasurer), David Cullen, Mark Mills, Ric Morris, Johanna Murphy, Brian Rafftery, Denis Byrne, Peter Ryan

ICRA operate as an independent association under a Memorandum of Understanding with the Irish Sailing Board. The current MOU is due for review at the end of 2017.

Website -

Focus for the future - Strategic Plan 2018 - 2020

6. Olympic Steering Group (OSG)

Members: John Menton (Chair), Morgan Buckley, Elaine Mettler, Trevor Millar, Sarah O'Connor, Bill O'Hara, Marcus Spillane, Colin Kavanagh, David Nucifora, Harry Hermon and James O’Callaghan, with Rory Fitzpatrick in attendance.

The High Performance Policy Group is referred to as the ‘Olympic Steering Group’ (OSG) and operates under separate Terms of Reference reviewed every four years and approved by the Irish Sailing Board. The group operates on a four year cycle in line with the Olympic Quadrennial. The Current aim of the of the group is to: oversee the delivery of the Irish Sailing’s performance plan with the goal of winning a medal at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

7. Communications Policy Group (OSG)

Members: Andrew Bradley, Justin Cullen and Valda Boardman, withTreasa Cox in attendance.

The role of the CPG is to guide on communications for Irish Sailing, as well as specific projects including the Irish Sailing Awards, Sponsorship, Social Media, Media and PR relations, Branding and Promotion.


8. Racing & Classes Policy Group

Members: Katie Dwyer (board member and chair), Mary McCormack, Jocelyn Hill, Ian Travers, Dave Love, with Sarah-Louise Rossiter in attendance.

Focus areas:

  • Support the sharing and collaboration of ideas across the affiliated classes
  • Act as a support resource for classes, awareness that the support is there, social media build-support for classes
  • Develop classes page on Irish Sailing website and consider a news feed around class activity
  • Establish co-operation for multi-class events
  • To collaborate with Classes to provide competitive fun and accessible racing programmes
  • Identify and deliver core supports for Classes to increase participation in competitive activities for all
  • Explore and develop Coach development paths and resources
  • Investigate youth attrition prevention – develop links to provide transition paths (extend life in a class or transition to another class)
  • Develop an awareness of the supports available to events, clubs and classes
  • Communicate clashes in calendars, support and build the event calendar resource
  • Support a Classes Forum on an annual basis
  • Support for classes nominating Champions’ Cup nominees
  • Updates of new committees within classes and events
  • Develop support materials for Clubs and Classes bidding and hosting international events
  • Build a news feed around class activities and events:
  • Explore what can be done to support Inclusion and Diversity racing
  • Explore new initiatives for class and event development

Other Supporting Committees

Audit & Governance Committee

Paddy McGlade (Chair)

John Twomey - President

Niall ONeill - Secretary

Sue Concannon - Treasurer

Ian Matthews

Tim Bourke in attendance

Finance Committee

John Twomey - President

Sue Concannon - Treasurer

Niall O'Neill - Secretary

Tim Bourke in attendance