President Michael D. Higgins hosted a reception at Áras an Uachtaráin on June 29th for match officials from all over the country.
Match official representatives from various sporting backgrounds were at the evnet. The ceremony was held to credit referees' fantastic contribution to sport in Ireland as the President praised their commitment and dedication to their various sports. Andy Fogarty, Damien O’Connell, Shane Gaughan, Shane Tuohy and Siobhán Daly went as representatives from the ARCB, and were joined by referees from the other three IRFU provinces. Before President Higgins spoke, they spent time walking through the grounds of the Áras at the garden party, soaking up the history therein.
Reflecting on the day, Siobhán Daly says:
"The President focused on the importance of sport and of protecting our culture - that sport can be a driver for good, and progressive change in Ireland. He spoke of inclusion and respect as values we need to actively protect, progress, uphold, and not let them be eroded. He stressed how words and empathy matter, and that referee abuse has no place in our country and sport; it cannot be tolerated. This felt validating and supportive. Being thanked collectively, all referees across all codes, was uplifting. It was a very enjoyable afternoon and a privilege to be there."
If you ae interested in becoming a referee, there will be a new referees course in Connacht on 9th September. To register, contact Peter Fitzgibbon by phone 0868322987 or email email@example.com.