Sport Ireland’s board confirmed on Thursday evening that John Treacy will retire as the organization’s chief executive at the end of December.
Treacy, 64, has been Managing Director of Sport Ireland since its inception in 2015, and previously served as Managing Director of the Irish Sports Council from 1999, when it was established as a statutory body in the country.
He was initially scheduled to retire at the end of 2020, but agreed to a one-year extension during the Covid-19 pandemic given the then precarious position of certain elements of Irish sport, including funding.
Throughout his tenure, Treacy has overseen numerous initiatives that have improved the sporting landscape in Ireland, including the introduction of the Irish Anti-Doping Program, increased financial support to the sector, the implementation of high performance systems and the deployment local sports. partnership initiative to promote sport and physical activity in local communities.
Treacy, 1984 Olympic silver medalist in the marathon and two-time world cross-country champion. also oversaw the introduction of the Irish Institute of Sport (now Sport Ireland Institute), a world-class facility providing support services to high performance athletes and coaches, as well as the National Trails Office.
In recent years, Treacy has also overseen a significant development on the Sport Ireland campus.
Confirming his retirement, Treacy said: “It has been a privilege to lead Sport Ireland and the Irish Sports Council through a period of significant progress for Irish Sport.
“There have been many highlights, but in particular I am delighted with the significant progress made in the participation of women in sport and sport for people with disabilities in recent years.
“While I intended to step down from this post last year, the postponement of the Olympics and Paralympics, the onset of the pandemic and the need for stability changed those plans. With Sport Ireland now firmly established and the industry in a strong position to meet any challenges ahead, I think the time has come for me to take a step back.
“I want to pay tribute to all the wonderful staff I have worked with over the years. I would like to thank the President and members of the Board, past and present, for their unwavering support. I would also like to thank the staff and volunteers of the national governing bodies, local sport partnerships and funded organizations, and pay tribute to all of our extraordinary athletes.
“I am also grateful to all of the ministers and departmental representatives that I have enjoyed meeting and with whom I have worked over the years. It is incredibly satisfying that sport has remained a political priority for the government, a recognition of the strength of the sector. I wish everyone involved in Irish sport the best for the future.
Sport Ireland initiated the recruitment process for the post of Managing Director through Lansdowne Executive Search. Among the potential nominees are former board member and former Tipperary hurling manager Liam Sheedy.
Commenting on Treacy’s retirement, Sport Ireland President Kieran Mulvey said: “John Treacy has been a model CEO who has led Irish sport through action and strategic vision. The sport industry in Ireland is in a very strong position thanks to the leadership that John has demonstrated since taking office with the Irish Sports Council in 1999. His contribution to sport in Ireland both as as an athlete and as a general manager is immeasurable.
“While it is difficult to single out individual achievements, in recent years the establishment of supports and processes to improve governance and accountability in sports organizations and the development of the impressive facilities on the Sport Ireland campus have failed. are just two strengths.
“Looking back, Ireland’s zero tolerance approach to doping in sport is internationally recognized and a testament to John’s leadership in this area. The deployment of the Local Sports Partnership has seen countless opportunities for people with disabilities and those from disadvantaged backgrounds who would never have had such an opportunity before.
“On behalf of the Sport Ireland Board of Directors, I would like to thank John for all he has done for Sport Ireland and sport in Ireland, and wish him a happy retirement.”