Softball Ireland A.G.M.'s have been energy sapping wars of attrition as people fought for heart and minds, some seemingly going on for longer than the hundred years wars as we are constantly reminded of the "three day A.G.M.". There were worries that this may match that, as there had been rumblings of unhappiness going through S.I. but there was also worries that with the formation of Softball Leinster Region there would be less interest in the going on's in S.I... However there was a novel grown up affair to this year's A.G.M., and long may it continue.
The room in the Grand Canal Hotel was underutilised, the quorum was met but the numbers were not great with only the regulars present, Marlay, Ulster Aviators and the 2Pak Club teams of Dublin Bay Packers and BatPak were over represented, Oddsox had their two votes there and there were also softballers from Homers, Blazzers, Suspect and a Renegade, unfortunately no one from Softball Munster were able to make the trip or send in their proxies.
The meeting started with James taking the Chair and gave apologies for the President been unable to make it and moved swiftly through the formalities. The Accounts were presented along with the Auditors going through their report and then the spend became an hour long discussion. S.I. explained the spend being a special opportunity to try and push slow-pitch softball on the agenda of the I.S.F. and E.S.F. and are promising that we should be seeing the fruition of these attempts in the coming year. However, the membership and the auditors were quite clear that after three years of operating at a loss it was time that S.I. begin to work within their budget and that over expend is no longer acceptable. It was also mentioned that the current yearly expenditures need to be revisited and reduced were possible. Softball Ulster mentioned the 2011 byelaws and that it was mentioned in these of an increase of team fees to S.I. to €400 for all teams. They explained that this was high and could cause issues on them registering teams. This was explained by S.I. that this was a recommendation and that the actual fee will need to be agreed with the regions and that S.I. will need to plan for this by the New Year to allow the Regions to work their budgets.
Once the accounts were accepted, the meeting moved on to the 22 motions. On agreement of the floor these were grouped into 5;
- The first group, which covered the removing of the responsibilities of S.I. on the policing (for want of a better word) on teams to leave these duties on the Regions. However it was felt that although the idea was correct the motions themselves didn't quite cover what was needed and so these were withdrawn.
- The next one covered the removing of the word "personal interest" from council votes. It felt this was too general and that there was still the personal responsibility of the council to remove themselves in extreme circumstances and so the motion was passed.
- The next group covered motions 20 and 21. These put standards in a region remaining a region. However the floor generally felt that once a region was formed no matter what the size that they should be maintained so there was still a presence in that region and so these motions failed.
- Motion 22 covered the reduction in the size of the S.I. council and this was passed.
- The next group covered the rewording to cover "Regional Council" and these were all quickly passed.
The full list of motions passed were 1,2,3,10,14,15,16,17,18,19 and 22.
The next part of the A.G.M. was the voting for council positions and as they were all uncontested and there were no objections, the new council were voted in.
Rachel Dalton from Marlay thanked the council for their work over the year and everyone agreed. Under A.O.B. the comments on the councils spending was reiterated. Our "Cousins" from the North also brought up the fact that they would like to see the presence of more people from S.I. and the National Squad up in Northern Ireland, so the members of Softball Ulster could see what they were paying for. It was also felt that when the S.I. annual budget is released this will also assist in indicating what all the Regions were funding in S.I... They also mentioned that several of the Softball Ulster members would like to try out for the National Team. They were told of the open trials but also the issue that currently only people with an Irish passport would be recognised by the E.S.F. It was asked that S.I. follow up with this and talk to E.S.F. about recognising S.I. members with G.B. passports for the Irish national team.
The final mention was to how the S.I. need to push on our and Irish Baseball and Softball Federations entry into the Irish Sports Council. That the entry to this is not about receiving money from them but that recognising in itself gives the teams and regions more power and a larger standing in other peoples/organisations eyes. It was impressed upon the incoming council that they need to take this and the S.I. strategic development plan as their roadmap for our way forward and address it as a main priority.
At the end of the meeting a motion was brought to the council to stop Colum Lavery from talking at the A.G.M.'s, but as the A.G.M. had already been closed, Colum (who had submitted the motion) will have to wait another year to present this motion, but we all enjoyed the entertainment).
The overall impression of the meeting was a united one, where all the membership were thinking in the same direction and it is now the responsibility of the council to help get softball in Ireland there!