Following the resignation of Joe Reynolds due to a number of issues amongst board members, the former chair of Kerry Group PLC Michael Dowling has been appointed as the interim chair of Horse Sport Ireland.

Dowling was appointed by the Minister of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue yesterday (Thursday, November 18), and will remain in the role until the next Olympics in 2024.

Minister McConalogue stated that it is important that the organisation has stability within this period.

Dowling’s appointment comes ten days after Reynolds submitted his resignation to the minister, who asked him to remain in the role until changes to the board could be finalised.

In a statement, Reynolds, who served as chair for six years, stated that he stepped down due to “deep divisions” which arose at board level.

“It has not been possible to build a bridge between the differing parties.

“These divisions related to a wide range of core issues, some of which were personality driven, while others were linked to historic issues within some affiliated groups,” he said.

According to Reynolds, these problems came to a head when a number of directors voted to go against “specific legal advice” which led to “irreconcilable” issues.

Other appointments

A number of other interim board members were also appointed, including CEO of the National Dairy Council Zoe Kavanagh, former CFO at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) Dr. Kevin Smyth, and Prof. of management and corporate governance at UCD Niamh Brennan.

The roles will be effective immediately and speaking about the new members, the minister said “this is a strong team and I am grateful that they have agreed to serve, to bring stability to the organisation”.

“I know that they will work closely with the sector and cast an objective eye at the running of the organisation, the development of the sector and the stewardship of almost €7 million in public funds annually,” he said.

Horse Sport Ireland

Both the minister and Reynolds stated that the Irish equestrian sport sector is thriving, and continues to be recognised around the world for its excellence.

“From the local shows to major international events, we are the envy of the world when it comes to producing top-class horses for the sector.

“Recent results by our high-performance teams on the global stage show the calibre of our sector internationally,” said the minister.

Meanwhile, Reynolds said that Ireland is home to “some of the world’s best riders, owners, producers and breeders and it has been an honour to represent them” during his tenure at Horse Sport Ireland.