Basketball Ireland Moves Debt Free

It has been the best part of a decade since Irish Basketball faced a financial crisis which threatened its collapse.

This week though it was only through a rear view mirror that those memories were brought back up as the final payment was made on what had mounted as a €1.3 million debt for the organisation.

A combination at the time of poor financial reporting and perhaps over ambitious expansion threatened the existence of the sport here and led to the withdrawl of Irish teams from international competition.

The workforce at the time was slashed from 27 to 11 and the process of first survival and then rebuilding was begun.

Paul Meany came back into the fold and took over the day to day running of the organisation and the appointment of Bernard O’Byrne as CEO in 2011 was a critical step in restoring confidence and building a plan to get the bounce back into the sport.

It has grown in the number of clubs that are playing, the number of schools that are active and it has regained its standing internationally with O’Byrne now serving on the Board of the European Arm of the International Governing Body FIBA.

A plan was created which enabled Sport ireland to maintain support with government funding and on Wednesday of this week the final payment was made on the debt that had to be paid down in order for the sport to survive.

There are doubtless lessons in the way the trouble first bacame apparent , and how it was resolved, that could be learnt for the future by other sporting and voluntary organisations.

“This is a truly memorable point in the history of Basketball Ireland and a real achievement by past and present players, clubs, Area Boards, schools, Board Members and professional staff,” said O’Byrne.

“Not every organisation could have achieved this – it’s onwards and upwards now.”

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