Putting Clubs At The Heart of Triathlon

Mourne NS 2018 Swim Generic

Triathlon Ireland’s members recently voted in favour of some important governance changes at the 2019 AGM.

The first of these changes gives clubs a greater say in the future direction of Triathlon Ireland by allocating each club with one vote at future AGM and EGMs. This ends the previous system of one-member one-vote.

The second set of changes will ensure more gender diversity and professional skills are represented on the Triathlon Ireland Board of Directors.

These recommendations were presented to AGM as resolutions on Saturday 27th April and were passed with an overwhelming 96% majority.


The proposal to change the voting system arose out of a two-year-long project involving the Triathlon Ireland Governance Working Group and the Triathlon Ireland Board aimed at ensuring Triathlon Ireland continues to lead the way on governance standards for national sports governing bodies in Ireland.

As part of this process, a full review of the Memorandum & Articles of Association (Constitution) was instigated with a number of key recommendations.

Triathlon Ireland’s strategic plan states that the organisation will fully review our constitution by 2020. A key driver of this work was to ensure our Constitution was aligned with our Strategy to place clubs at the centre of our sport, with clubs engaged and collaborating in partnership with Triathlon Ireland across all areas of the sport

The key changes are summarised under the following headings: 

Membership Structure

Triathlon Ireland has now moved to a club voting structure/membership structure. This will give each affiliated TI club a vote at AGM/EGM. The rationale behind this move included:

• The empowerment of clubs, ensuring clubs have a more significant voice and power in relation to Triathlon Ireland strategy and the election of Triathlon Ireland’s Board of Directors;

• Bringing Triathlon Ireland in line with best practice and good governance;

• Mirroring the voting structures in the ETU (European Triathlon Union) & ITU (International Triathlon Union);

• Risk management.

Board Structure and Composition

The now former Triathlon Ireland Board structure was defined by our Constitution which required: a maximum of nine members, including the President, the Vice President, the Treasurer, four Regional Directors and two independent directors.

At the recent AGM, Triathlon Ireland’s members passed a resolution to move to a skills-based composition. This means the board will now comprise of the President, the Vice-President, the Treasurer and six ordinary directors.

The board will from time to time outline the skills required on the board (i.e. legal, financial, commercial, high performance etc). However, the Board also believes that it is important that its make-up represents the membership at large and so proposed a geographic and gender diversity requirement for board membership.

These were voted by members at AGM under the following proposals:

1. The Board propose an amendment requiring geographic diversity in the Board

2. To ensure the gender makeup of our board is representative of our community, the Board  propose a provision requiring the Board to be composed of at least three members of each gender, again in line with ETU and ITU and in line with recommendations from Sport Ireland that we expect to become mandatory over the coming 12 months.

Generic Bike Image Hook or by Crook 2018

Confidence in Our Clubs

Commenting on the changes, President of Triathlon Ireland, Lochlann Walsh said the result is a vote of confidence in our clubs:

"Clubs have been the driving force behind the growth triathlon has enjoyed over the past decade and our current four year strategy recognises this.  As a board we felt that in order to position triathlon for success over the next decade it was important that we further empowered our clubs, who can now take a central role in the future direction and development of Triathlon Ireland."

The Chief Executive of Triathlon Ireland, Chris Kitchen believes the changes are a highly significant development in the governance of the sport of triathlon in Ireland.

“Our clubs are key to the sustainability and growth of Triathlon, our aim is to have triathletes for life and this is best delivered by clubs and club membership. To have clubs as the key voting members will help bridge the grassroots membership and Triathlon Ireland.”

Mr Kitchen added: In addition the move towards a skills based board with a mix of independent and elected directors will keep us ahead of the game from a Governance perspective. It is evident that good governance will, quite rightly, be a key focus area going forward for our funding partners and sponsors and the changes agreed at the AGM will provide Triathlon Ireland with an excellent platform to demonstrate from the Board to the Executive that good governance matters.”