Fellow Members of Society,

I hope you are all continuing to keep safe and well during these difficult and strange times. As many of you know by now, council held an online briefing meeting on Saturday the 6th of June. I want to thank all those that made themselves available to participate in what proved to be an excellent and informative meeting with over 35 participants from all around the Country. I would particularly like to thank Gerard Perry and Ger McDermott of the FAI who gave us an update on the planned resumption of football in the country.

I want to follow up on that meeting now with an overview, but my hope is your delegate that attended the meeting gives you a more detailed report.

· A risk assessment is to be carried out by the FAI in terms of what shall be deemed best practice going forward, to this end the FAI & the ISRS shall work together and draft specific protocols designed solely for match officials. Only when both parties sign off on these protocols will the national officer board of the ISRS sanction our members to return refereeing and reinstate our insurance policy.

· What became clear from the meeting was the call for unity and how we must all stick together. Therefore, the national officer board got the go ahead to issue a directive that no branch or member(s) return refereeing until these protocols have been agreed and signed. We are taking this action to protect our members health and safety. No member shall be covered by insurance until these protocols have been agreed upon and signed.

· Also, in terms of our insurance policy, no member(s) shall be covered for covid-19 if and when games do resume. The ISRS has decided that we will provide our members with all the information possible, but it will be entirely up to each and every member to decide when they want to return refereeing once the protocols have been agreed and put in place. The ISRS will fully support our member no matter what they decide to do, be it return to refereeing or sitting it out until there is vaccine.

· I cannot emphasis this enough though, no member is currently covered by insurance and this will continue until the national officer board determine otherwise & sanction our members to return, this also includes training.

· We shall be working closely with the FAI and the health experts and we will only be reinstating our insurance policy when it is deemed safe to return training in groups and in turn officiating matches.

· I will update all our members when the protocols have been agreed upon as there is no point in speculating now what may or may not be in them, as the situation is fluid and evolving all the time. I can say that when formulating these protocols, we will be guided by our members, by health experts and we will be adhering to government guidelines.

In Terms of Society Business:

· Branch meetings shall be permitted from the 1st of August & all outstanding agms for the 2019-20 season must be completed by the end of September, unless we advise otherwise.

· All nominations for the national officer board must be submitted to the general secretary by Friday the 25thof September and shall be issued to all the branches within one week of this deadline, so that they can mandate their delegate(s) in how to vote at councils Agm.

· The AGM of council shall be held in Co Wicklow, (venue tbc) on Saturday the 31st of October. (Further details to follow).

· Registration for 2021-22 season shall be the 31st of March instead of the 31st of January with a freeze in council registrations fees until at least 2022.

· The application to apply for a grant has been extended until the 31st of August.

This letter is not designed to answer specific questions related to the resumption of games as the protocols being worked on should answer any queries when agreed upon. I will of course keep you updated on this process. It is my intention to hold another online briefing meeting to discuss these protocols in the near future before we agree on them with the FAI. Again, our sole aim is to protect our members as best we can & not to hinder the return of games in the country. I believe that if the footballing family works together, we will see a return of games in as safe an environment as is humanly possible given the fact that no vaccine has been discovered yet.

In the meantime, I sincerely hope you, your families and all our colleagues remain safe and well.

Yours in Sport,
Paul O’Brien
President ISRS