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Irish government seeks meeting with IRFU after letter from women's players

Ministers Martin and Chambers are considering the letter with “the upmost seriousness.”

Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

THE IRISH GOVERNMENT has sought a meeting with the IRFU after receiving a letter from current and former Irish women’s rugby players outlining their loss of all trust and confidence in the union.

Minister for Sport, Catherine Martin, and Minister of State for Sport, Jack Chambers, have moved to engage with the IRFU after receiving the letter from 62 Irish players last Friday.

A statement from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport, and Media this evening confirms that Ministers Martin and Chambers are considering the letter with “the upmost seriousness.”

The Ministers have asked Sport Ireland to engage with the group of players, while they have also indicated their willingness to meet with the players directly themselves. The Ministers also noted the “leadership that the players have shown in recent years in driving the game forward.”

The players’ strongly-worded letter – signed by retired Ireland greats like Lynne Cantwell, Fiona Coghlan, Ciara Griffin and Claire Molloy, as well as leading current internationals such as Cliodhna Moloney, Sene Naoupu, Linda Djougang, and Eimear Considine – asked the Ministers to intervene in the IRFU’s two ongoing reviews into women’s rugby in Ireland.

The letter expressed the players’ belief that the IRFU has delivered “inequitable and untrustworthy leadership” in women’s rugby and has also failed to provide transparency in the governance and operation of the game.

The IRFU responded to the letter by expressing its disappointment in the timing of the letter and saying that the union “refutes the overall tenor” of the letter.

The IRFU’s statement said that the union believes the “outside interference” of the letter from the players to the Irish government was not a “responsible approach” as the independent reviews continue.

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However, Ministers Martin and Chambers have now responded to the players’ requests and have sought a meeting with the IRFU.

“Ministers Martin and Chambers have received a letter which outlined a number of issues of concern within women’s rugby in Ireland,” reads a statement from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport, and Media 

“That letter is being considered with the upmost seriousness, particularly in the context of the leadership that the players have shown in recent years in driving the game forward.

“The Ministers have written to the players to let them know they have sought a meeting with the IRFU to discuss the issues raised by the players.  They have also requested that Sport Ireland engage with the players. The Ministers advised the players they will be happy to meet directly with them also.”

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