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Rift Deepens in Tennis Ireland as Drivers Suspended for Confidentiality




Three directors of Tennis Ireland, including the president, were suspended from the organisation’s board last night. Two of the directors, Clifford Carroll and Robert Cummins, represented the Munster branch of Tennis Ireland and were suspended last night shortly after the start of a specially convened meeting. President Shane Cooke, who refused to distance himself from the Munster directors, was later suspended.

The suspensions follow allegations of breach of confidentiality in the wake of its publication in the Irish examiner of a report on major allegations of maladministration at Tennis Ireland.

Several of the directors who voted the three out of the board were named in the allegations of mismanagement.

I am clearly disappointed, but not surprised, Mr. Carroll told the… Irish examiner last night.

The suspensions widen the rift that has plagued Tennis Ireland for the past three years. It is now unclear how the Munster branch will be represented in the national organization.

Two weeks ago, the Irish examiner has published details of allegations of maladministration detailed in an email sent by Mr Carroll to board members, Sport Ireland, and the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement.

The allegations include:

  • Board meetings are convened to which only a select number of directors are invited;
  • The organization is currently governed by a personnel committee that is not officially sanctioned by the board of directors. They directly interfere with the operation of the headquarters and the role of the CEO;
  • Most council subcommittees haven’t convened in two years;
  • The chairman recently announced that no minutes will be taken of non-executive board meetings (with the exception of the CEO who is the sole executive member of the board);
  • A complaint of bullying brought to the attention of the councils had not been investigated. Mr. Carroll claimed that when the chairman was questioned about this at a board meeting, he felt the meeting was not the right forum to explain himself.
  • Attempts to undermine the CEO, Richard Fahey.
  • None of the allegations were denied, or even addressed, when presented to Tennis Ireland by the Irish examiner in a series of questions earlier this month. Earlier this year an investigation was launched into a false invoice after Mr Carroll insisted that annual accounts could not be signed off until the matter was resolved. A subcommittee conducted an investigation that was criticized by CEO Mr. Fahey for failing to interview key personnel involved in the transaction.

    Board is under review

    The organization’s governance is currently under review by the Institute of Public Administration, at the request of Sports Ireland, the state’s funding body for sports.

    Several board members, including Mr. Cummins, have sought to address matters at the board level in recent years. This was best reflected in an email he sent to Tennis Ireland chairman David OBeirne earlier this year.

    “I’ve done my very best for the past 2 years to work with everyone, including yourself, to move tennis and our business forward,” he wrote. I am happy to work with anyone towards that goal, but I am baffled by the behavior of some people who will not follow any recognized or written process to advance administrative matters in a legal or constructive way.




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