Monday, 2 November 2015

Election for President of Cycling Ireland

From Denis Toomey:

I hope you are keeping well?

Greetings to you and all the members of the South Tipperary Cycling Club.  Congratulations on the growth in Club and on all your successful activities during the year.


As you are aware the Cycling Ireland AGM takes place on Saturday 7th November at 11am at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Santry near Dublin Airport.  I have been nominated to go forward for election for a second term as President of our great organisation.  My first term whilst very busy was most enjoyable and I was honoured to represent you all and lead Cycling Ireland during this unprecedented period of success and expansion.


Having come up through the ranks from Club, Province, Commission and Board, I am most understanding of the huge voluntary contribution all Clubs and Provinces and Commissions make and how you create the backbone of our organisation.  I was delighted to see the level of contributions made last year during the consultation process on our New 5 Year Strategy which contributed to the development of a very ambitious and dynamic pathway for cycling in Ireland


All disciplines of our sport are on an upward trajectory and I am happy to have been in a position to help and encourage where I could along the way.  I would like to humbly request your delegates to support my desire to serve you for another 2 year term and vote for me during the election at the AGM.  The AGM provides an annual opportunity to our members to air their voice and contribute to the future direction and structure of the organisation so it is important that your delegates attend and contribute on the day.


I am attaching a copy of my letter to all members which outlines some of the achievements we all contributed to during my first term as your President and an indication of my Vision for the next term if successful in the election and Youth Development, Leisure and Women’s Cycling is a big part of this and will be receiving my full support.  You will see that the construction of a Velodrome is my number one priority and in spite of the negative story run on Sticky-Bottle recently I am confident that the huge amount of lobbying, meetings and work I have done to progress this will pay dividends during 2016.  Please feel free to get back to me directly either my e-mail or phone (086-1575765) if you have any questions or would like to discuss any matter.


Again well done to the Club on all your activities during 2015 and the Very Best of Wishes for 2016.


Yours in Cycling,

Denis Toomey President

Election for 2nd Term as President of Cycling Ireland

Dear Member,

My first 2 year term as your President has flown by and I am delighted to say that our organisation continues to grow from strength to strength across all disciplines of our great sport.

Membership levels are at an all-time high, currently just shy of the 28,000 mark and are projected to top the 30,000 mark next year.  This growth is reflected across all areas and it is especially encouraging to see both Youth and Ladies categories on the increase helped by our programmes including Sprocket Rocket and Bike for Life and our success in getting Cycling included in Operation Transformation. BikeFest Family day had over 3,000 participants.  The future piloting of our
CycleRight Project will keep us to the forefront of cycle training in schools around the country.  

Following my election my first task was to drive the preparation of our dynamic Five Year Strategy which was launched at the end of 2014 following intensive consultation with you the members. It focuses on five main pillars of:- Sport Development, Advocacy, High Performance, Leisure,
Commercial and Governance. It is guiding our activities to achieve our “Vision” that Cycling Ireland is the leading contributor of medals at World, Olympic and Paralympic levels while ensuring sustained growth across all cycling disciplines and increased use of the bike across society.  We already see major progression after just year one and if re-elected as President I will be ensuring that the implementation of our strategy which is member focused will continue to be the number one priority for my next term.

Support in financial, equipment and governance terms has been increased to strengthen our discipline specific Commissions covering Youth Academy, BMX, Women’s, Track, Paracycling and Off-road. Our new Masters Categories introduced in 2015 and which I was instrumental in getting approved has been a tremendous success and we continue to produce World Masters Champions on the Track and in BMX. I look forward to continued growth in this sector in the years ahead. Our BMX Commission has spearheaded the construction of 3 new BMX Tracks in Lucan, Cork and Wexford and further ones are in the pipeline for 2016. The construction of Irelands first indoor Velodrome which has always been at the top of my agenda came much closer to realisation with a site assigned for the Velodrome at the Sports Campus in Abbottstown and Planning Permission already secured. The commitment this week from the Minister for Transport Tourism and Sport, that the project is included in the recently announced €285 million Sports Capital Investment Fund is great news and we look forward to the project going for construction tender in the near future.  I am convinced that the Velodrome when built will not only provide us with our National Headquarters it will provide the pipeline for future generations to learn and hone the skills required to compete and to represent Ireland on the world stage.  Agreement has also been secured for Cycling Ireland to move its administration offices to the Phase 2 Sports HQ on the Campus once the new offices are ready in 2016.

Growth in the Leisure area sees many thousands of you now regularly participating in Sportive and
Leisure events across the country.  With support from the Irish Sports Council the inaugural Great Dublin Bike Ride was launched in October and I was happy to join in excess of 3,000 participants riding through our capital city.  This is expected to grow in future years and become a big attraction also for overseas cyclists to come and ride their bikes in Ireland.  Future profits from this venture will go to fund the appointment of Regional Development Officers with the aim of providing additional support to the Leisure side of our sport.  

The success of our High Performance (HP) System has resulted in Cycling being one of the few sports to receive an increase in Government Funding during 2015.  With a matching increase in Board support we have seen a major influx of riders into the ranks of Irish Squads at Junior, Under 23, Elite and Paracycling Level.  Ladies and Men’s Pursuit Squads have been re-established and are already smashing Irish Records and focus is now fully on qualifying Irish Riders for the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.  As proposed in our Strategy we have appointed a Technical Director to oversee our HP programme, our coaches and the track base in Majorca and for a nation currently without a track we certainly punch way above our weight on the World Stage. Historic number of Irish Riders have secured professional contracts on Continental, Pro-Continental and World Tour Teams and they are certainly keeping the Irish flag flying high.  

Domestic racing is booming and has seen the return of the Classic League Series in 2015.  Our UCI events including the National Road Championships, An Post Ras and International Track Meet in addition to the recent Ras Na mBan were all hugely successful.  Record entries for Mountain-bike, Cyclocross, BMX and Track events are most encouraging and I had the pleasure of attending and presenting medals at many of these during the year.   I have been working hard with the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, Local Authorities and the Gardai to ensure Road Racing and also Cycling Sportives continue on Irish roads in a safe manner and with as little impact on other road users as possible.  Work has started on the development of more thorough event management and marshal training courses and we are looking at the possibility of proposing some legislation changes in the future. I will continue to focus on efforts to resolve the issues to everyone’s satisfaction.  A new working group is currently being set up and draft terms of reference have been approved by the Board.  In 2015 just one club felt obliged to cancel their race and I hope all clubs will run their normal races in 2016.

Having again taken on board the Strategy recommendations, we appointed a full time PRO position, revamped our website and have used social media including Twitter and Facebook to provide up to the minute information on activities and events as they happen.  We have also strengthened our administration resources in the office to provide a more robust and speedy response to your queries and requests and our new online membership and event application system provides a faster and simpler service to all our members.

During my first term I have been able to establish and strengthen contacts and relationships with our Funding Partners, Government Ministers and Officials, UCI and UEC Presidents and Officials.  I have used these contacts to secure additional funding and resources to your benefit.  I hope to build on and to use these contacts to further progress our activities and resources in the coming years.  I have had the pleasure of personally meeting many of you during the many events I attended and also out on the bike and on various sportives.  I thank you for your courtesy, support and advice and in particular for your great work you do on behalf of Cycling Ireland.   

As the saying goes ”A lot done- A lot more to do”, we have during the first year of our Strategy started to put the foundations in place to build our five pillars. It is essential that the work we have started is allowed to progress to realisation and I hope if re-elected to ensure that these Pillars grow to support our wonderful organisation for many years to come.  

My first term as President has been a sharp learning process and involved a big investment in time and energy, but I have learned a lot and I commit to continue my efforts and passion over the next 2 years to make full use of this learning to support you and to further progress the sport of cycling to enable us to reach our Vision.

I encourage all clubs to send their delegates to attend and actively participate at the AGM on November 7th.   I humbly ask that you support me in the election for President and I look forward to your attendance and if re-elected to serving you and cycling for the next 2 years.

Yours in Cycling
Denis Toomey, Honorary President

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