What position are you running for and why?
I am running for the position of National Secretary. Like you, I have a passion for scouting and truly believe in what we achieve, on a daily basis. This belief and the 37 years of experience, having been involved as a youth member and working at Group, ( which I still do), County, Provincial and National Level, with the experience of having sat on the NMC for 3 years, as an ordinary member, gives me the understanding of how Scouting Ireland functions, at National Level. Having been appointed as National Secretary, since late September, to have spent the last number of months, learning the role and building relationships with the rest of the NMC, I think, puts me in the unique position, of not having to start from the beginning of the learning curve, which ultimately, can be to the benefit of Scouting Ireland.
What do you plan to achieve in your term in the Role?
As I have already started in the role, a number of months ago, I have already begun the work on a new Disputes Process, which is aimed at having a clearer, more effective process than we currently operate. The necessities of this are many and the system we currently operate is out dated, cumbersome and seems to take too much time to come to a resolution, the staff and volunteer hours are excessive and we should have a process that is easy to follow, that everyone can understand. This will hopefully be achieved through this new Disputes Process.
I also plan to use new ways of communicating to the membership. Recentl,y I, with the help of the Communications Commissioner and his team and indeed, James O’Toole, thanks James, trialled Live Steaming a consultation meeting with the membership through the Scouting Ireland Facebook page, this allowed us to get a message to the membership of Scouting Ireland, to anyone that could spare the time, without having to travel unnecessarily. By all accounts this was very successful, given the numbers that were on line for the presentation, and those that have viewed it since. This is a method that encourages our youth members to take part in the debate, through a medium that they are comfortable and familiar with. There are many ways to build on the great work that former National Secretary’s have started and as a member of the team, that is the NMC, I am confident that I can contribute positively to ensuring the success of Scouting Ireland.
There are many challenges facing Scouting Ireland, but ultimately, we need to ensure that we have an organisation that can deliver scouting to the youth of this island of Ireland, now and into the future.
Identify one challenge currently facing Scouting Ireland and a potential solution to this challenge?
The main challenge that we face as an organisation, is of course, the new era of charities legislation. The current structure that we operate within, is not suitable to comply with the statutory requirements set out in these acts, in both jurisdictions, subsequently we need to adapt, which scouting has done for the past 110 years, in order to ensure the future of scouting in Ireland. The only way that we can achieve this, is together. Throughout the process the continued consultation has been vital, and this is something that I will ensure continues, so that we can achieve, collectively, the best possible scouting organisation, that will continue to offer scouting to young people on the whole island. I will ensure the communication of decisions, as I have done for this National Council, which, for the first time ever, the membership saw the motions that were being proposed by the NMC, long before the official publication date. This allowed for Groups and Counties, to make submissions, that may be counter to what the NMC had proposed, thereby giving Groups and Counties an opportunity, to make alternative proposals. This, I believe will help us to ensure the discussions and debates around important matters, can be fair to everyone.
Lastly anything else you would like to say to the Membership?
I would ask you to consider giving your vote to me at this year’s National Council, as I believe I have the necessary skills and understanding of the demands for this role. I served my time as a carpenter, and quickly moved into running jobs and further developed in management skills, that I would attribute largely, to scouting and the skills that I learned though scouting and scout training. I have run my own business with my brother, for the past 16 years, and have managed businesses for others before that. When asked to consider the role of National Secretary, last summer, I was flattered that my peers in Scouting Ireland, felt that I was a suitable candidate for this role. I am grateful to those who encouraged me to put my name into the pot. I would like to thank the other candidate for the role, David Walsh, for putting himself forward for the role and I would also like to thank the Interview panel and the NMC, for allowing me to take on thi s role.
I currently have the ability to commit the time to this role, that it demands, as Jimmy outlined in his resignation letter, the time demands are from 40 hours per week and more.
If anyone has questions that they would like me to answer, then I look forward to seeing you at the “Meet the Candidates” sessions over the coming weeks, if you are unable to make it, then by all means, send me an email, and I will try to answer your query.
Thank You for taking the time to read this and I hope that you can support me at National Council.