Roddy Guiney, chairman of public relations agency, Wilson Hartnell, has been elected Chairman of the Federation of Irish Sport. He succeeds David Williams whose term concluded at the recent AGM.
The Federation is the representative body for Ireland’s National Sporting Organisations and the country’s 28 Local Sports Partnerships (LSPs). The Federation works on behalf of its members to create a greater awareness of the importance of sport across a wide number of areas including health, business, tourism, community, diversity, and the economy.
Guiney, who founded Wilson Hartnell’s successful sports business, has been involved in sport all his life. His father Dave was an Olympic athlete, sports journalist and author. Roddy, a one-time League of Ireland player, was involved in soccer as a player, coach and manager. In business, he founded and developed Wilson Hartnell’s sports business, which continues to be a major contributor to the overall WH company.
As part of his work in Wilson Hartnell, Roddy has helped develop many major sports sponsorships including the Guinness sponsorship of the GAA All Ireland Hurling Championship, widely regarded as the country’s most successful sports sponsorship for many years. He was also part of the teams for the redevelopment of both Croke Park and Lansdowne Road (Aviva) stadia.
Guiney first became involved in the Federation as an advisor for the launch of its Just Sport Ireland mediation/arbitration service and he was heavily involved in the first four of its ” Irish Sport Matters” campaigns, which were devised to raise awareness of the major contribution sport makes to life in Ireland. The campaigns aimed to advance the opportunity for sport to play an even greater role in areas such health and tourism. He then then joined the board of the Federation in 2016.
“I am deeply honoured to take up the position. I have been lucky enough to be involved in sport all my life. I believe that while sport currently plays a really important part in Irish life, it has the potential to do even more,” says Guiney.
“In that context, the work of our National Sports Organisations and LSP’s is vital. They make sport happen at all levels from grassroots to elite levels. They know what is needed to unlock the potential of sport, what investments are needed, what programmes need to be created and where we need new facilities. However, they need increased funding if they are to fulfil their respective remits,” he says.
“As a country, we are beginning to unlock our potential. Who would have thought that we could bid for a Rugby World Cup and host a Europa League Final and play host to matches as part of the Euro 2020 Finals. We are also, at long last, making strides in women’s sport having hosted the Women’s Rugby World Cup this summer whilst, 46,000 people attended the recent Ladies Gaelic Football All Ireland Final making it the best attended female sports event in Europe this year.”
Citing a number of challenge facing Irish sport, Guiney says that the Federation will look to address these over the next few years.
“Given the persistent public health challenges facing Ireland’s population, investment in sport has never been so important. Increased investment in sport is a necessity to ensure we continue to develop sporting opportunity for all of Ireland’s people.
“Our focus in the Federation will be to create an even greater awareness of the potential of sport with a view to encouraging the Government to continue to increase the funds for our national sporting organisations and LSPs. I look forward to the challenge as indeed do our entire board,” he says.