Dr Una May has been appointed as the new CEO of Sport Ireland.

The decision followed a publicly advertised and extensive recruitment process that included an international dimension. It involved both internal and external candidates any number of which would have been very strong candidates but who will now return to their positions hopefully not unsettled by having looked at perhaps the most important job in Irish sport.

Una May brings a massive amount of experience to the role and was identified as one of the favourites to succeed John Treacy from some way out.
She has been an ever-present through nine years of the Sport for Business Women of Influence List.

Her most recent citation for that reads as follows:

Dr Una May is Director of Participation and Ethics at Sport Ireland. Her dual responsibility is substantial she has been the effective Deputy CEO to John Treacy through his tenure at the head of the organisation.

That makes her a leading contender to replace him in the role of CEO, the interview process for which will be taking place in the closing weeks of 2021.

May has been a leading light in the administration of sport for more than two decades, and the lead in Ireland’s strong position on anti-doping throughout most of that time as well.

She represented Ireland in Mountain Running and Orienteering and is a graduate of TU Dublin and Liverpool’s John Moores University.

She has been Sport Ireland’s Director of Participation and Ethics having previously held the role of Director of Anti-Doping. She led the creation of a world-class, globally recognised Anti-Doping Programme from a greenfield base, and has also grown the grassroots local delivery of sport, through the ongoing development of the National Network of Local Sports Partnerships, growing core investment in this area.

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin TD said: “I congratulate Dr. Una May on her appointment as Chief Executive of Sport Ireland. Una has developed a strong reputation as a dynamic and ambitious sports leader and has a track record of delivering results. I wish her every success in bringing the mission for sport in Ireland to the next phase of development and in achieving the ambitious targets set within the Government’s National Sports Policy.”

Welcoming the appointment Minister of State for Sport and the Gaeltacht Jack Chambers TD said:  “Dr Una May takes up this post at a critical time for Irish sport. Una will work with the Board of Sport Ireland and all stakeholders from the wider sports sector to ensure the sector’s continued recovery from the impact of COVID-19. I look forward to continuing to work closely with Una in implementing a “Sport for All” inclusive approach across all parts of the sports sector, in achieving the targets within Sport Ireland’s High-Performance strategy and in expanding the world-class facilities at the Sport Ireland Campus.”

Sport Ireland Chairperson Kieran Mulvey added: “Dr Una May was selected from a field of extremely experienced and capable candidates. Una brings huge experience to the role and has been a strong advocate for ethical and inclusive sport in Ireland and internationally. She has been a prominent figure in many of Sport Ireland’s key projects over the past number of years. Her deep knowledge of the sector and passion for the work of Sport Ireland has led to her engagement with almost every area of Sport Ireland’s business from Anti-Doping to Child Safeguarding, the promotion of grassroots participation through the Local Sports Partnerships and National Governing Bodies to the development of the Sport Ireland Campus. On behalf of the Board of Sport Ireland, I congratulate Una on her appointment as Chief Executive and wish her every success in the role.”

Prior to joining the then Irish Sports Council in 1998 Una May attained a BSc (Hons) in Sports Science [1st Class] and a PhD in Exercise Physiology from Liverpool John Moore’s University.

Her appointment as Chief Executive is for a 5-year term and will formally begin her position in the coming weeks. Her appointment follows the recent retirement of the outgoing Chief Executive, John Treacy.  She will work closely alongside Chair Kieran Mulvey and the existing strong leadership team.


Sport for Business Perspective

The role of CEO has been cast since the original creation of the Irish Sports Council in the mould of John Treacy.  Una May is a worthy successor and will give a sense of developing continuity that is generally seen as a positive within sports administration.  Its success takes place away from the medal ceremonies and the homecoming parades but it is a vital part of ensuring they happen.  Part inspiration, part number cruncher, part visionary, part persuader, part research advocate, part fairness champion, part many things, this is a role that has a huge importance to Irish sporting ambitions and Una May is a winning selection to deliver.


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