We’ve all been affected by Covid-19 and the restrictions caused by social distancing since we had to suspend all AIRC activities on the 19th March. During this time we’ve all had to adapt to these restrictions, and it looks like these, along with social distancing will be with us for some time yet.
We’d like to take this opportunity to thank those on the front line, in particular our members, who have been helping with the national effort against this virus which has unfortunately claimed many lives across the country.
As the picture has become clearer following the announcement of the Government’s Roadmap for Reopening Ireland last Friday, we felt it was important to update you on the work, the Board of Directors and our staff have been doing during this time.
We are doing all we can to protect the financial position of our Association by reducing our costs where possible. Much of this has happened organically but following consultation with our staff, we have reduced our costs and availed of government subsidies where possible, while much of our insurance has been parked since our activities were suspended in March.
The Board of Directors will explore all options available to us in the coming months in terms of offering a refund or credit in respect of the lost months of membership.
There is some light at the end of the tunnel as work continues on the resumption of our activities. The Board and our staff are putting in place a plan for their reintroduction over a phased basis over the coming months in line with the Governments roadmap which was announced on 1st May.
It is hoped that we will be able to resume club training activities from the 8th June in a limited capacity but this will be contingent on the Government moving to Phase Two and allowing travel up to 20 kilometres. There are also a number of other issues that need to be resolved in the coming weeks in order for us to be able to resume our activities then.
Once our club training activities are permitted to recommence this will be followed, on a phased basis, by regional training activities and then competitions. This will, of course, be dependent on how the Government progresses along with its roadmap and when they lift their travel restrictions.
What is certain at this time, is when we resume our activities, there will be additional protocols to implement as social distancing will be with us for some time to come. There is no doubt that this will look and feel different from what we are used to, but this is preferential to not having any sport at all! Maintaining standards and safety will be our key priorities.
A club training grant will also be made available to encourage clubs to resume their training activities at a local level and details of this will be made available in the coming weeks.
Unfortunately, we lost the AIRC Riding Clubs Festival in June whilst we rescheduled the Hunter Trials to September. However, since the Government announced its roadmap last week, it has now become apparent that more of our National Championships will be lost.
As travel restrictions continue until the 20th July, at the earliest, we will not be able to run the show jumping championships in July while it may not be possible to run our other championships in their current format as we may have to adapt them to conform with the ‘new norms.’ Inevitably, there will remain a level of uncertainty for some of these until it becomes clearer as to how we can operate these events with an inevitable reduced entry from a smaller membership pool.
We will provide updates on these in the coming weeks and months.
Keep in touch
Please do keep in touch with us during this time by following our social media channels on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Youtube. You can also subscribe to our eNewsletter via our website to receive regular updates each week.
If you need to contact National Office during this time, we ask that you email the office using the ‘Contact Us’ facility on our website, as these are checked regularly. In any case, there may be a delay in responding to your query at this time but we will get to them as quickly as possible.
Our aim is to get our members back riding, training and competing as soon as it is safe to do so but in the meantime, please ensure to follow the government and health authorities guidelines.
There is light at the end of the tunnel but we are not there yet.
For now, stay safe, stay at home and take care of yourselves and your loved ones (including your four-legged friends!).
Tony Ennis (Chair of the Board of Directors)