In 2019 Sport Ireland launched the Women in Sport Policy detailing the vision for Women in Sport:

One where women have an equal opportunity to achieve their full potential while enjoying lifelong participation and involvement in sport’.

By December 2023 all sporting organisations were required to have 40% female on their Boards. A snapshot of Weightlifting Ireland confirms that we have achieved this marker with Claire and Villy as General Secretaries on the current Board.  In addition, we also have other strong female representation in mandated roles: Lucy Moore-Fox  – Anti-Doping Officer (ADO), Shauna B Keane – National Children’s Officer (NCO) & Caroline Murphy – Designated Liaison Person (DLP).

Lucy Moore-Fox : Anti-Doping Officer

I moved into the ADO role last year on a graduated basis, with the support of Harry Leech, who had held the post for many years.  Once I retired from my full time job 18 months ago, I had a little more time available to volunteer in both of my sports (track & field athletics, and Weightlifting).  I did not have an interest in going onto the Board of Weightlifting Ireland but I felt that I could assist by taking on the role of ADO. I had a lot of experience coaching carded athletes (in T&F) in the past, so already had exposure to the area. Clean sport is also an interest of mine, and I feel that both T&F and Weightlifting have been marred in the past by a legacy of doping.

Shauna B Keane : National Children’s Officer

I have been a member of Weightlifting Ireland for probably the best part of 10 years now and completing the Technical Officials course prior to covid had started me on a course of volunteering that I have enjoyed. As a masters athlete, I discovered that through volunteering I could still be involved in the sport even when I was injured or not in a position to compete. I had never ever considered the role of NCO prior to applying for it. I had thought that the DLP role would fit in well with my everyday job as a Garda Crime Scene Examiner but as a woman with no children I thought that the NCO role was well outside my remit.

After looking into the role and making enquiries with friends/family who were familiar with me and with the role I began to think that maybe I did have something to offer. I love to learn which is fortunate for me as most of my tenure so far has been about bringing myself up to speed on issues such as Safeguarding, Vetting etc. I have a lot of ideas for the role going forward and I am hopeful that I can introduce some new elements once my feet have been planted firmly under the table. I would also like to say that without the support of the DLP, Caroline Murphy and that of Claire, one of the Weightlifting Ireland Secretaries I would not have been able to even get started. Knowing that I have two strong, capable women to talk things through with and tell my ideas (or sometimes notions!) has given me the confidence to embrace the role.

Caroline Murphy : Designated Liaison Person

I was nearing the end of my camogie playing days when covid hit in 2020. All pitches, gyms and sporting arenas shut down and with them, so did my camogie career. Going from training five days a week to nothing was tough so I reached out to the S&C coach from my local gym to give me a programme to occupy my time. He had recently started Olympic lifting and so, my new sporting career was born… thanks Niall!

For me, the biggest positive to weightlifting is the huge support from the entire WI community, in particular, women supporting women. Although it’s an individual support, the team spirit is so strong and sometimes humbling in its power. This sport has offered me so many opportunities to meet new people, learn new skills and travel both home and abroad. I feel it’s important to give back.

So, when Shauna and Claire (both friends for life gifted to me by weightlifting and always guaranteed to make me laugh until I cry!) “gently” coaxed me into taking up the DLP position I couldn’t say no… no matter how hard I tried!! To have their support, along with Villy and Lucy, is very empowering. I look forward to many more years being involved with WI and I encourage more strong women to get on board with volunteering and keep the organisation moving forward.

Villy O’Malley : Secretary

I initially found Weightlifting through CrossFit in 2014. In 2016, I committed to my coaching journey by obtaining my Level 1 Coaching certification, and since then, I have never looked back. My involvement with W.I started on a voluntary basis through various coaching opportunities, eventually leading me to become part of the Coaching Committee. In 2022, I took the next step in my coaching journey by becoming a Coach Developer for the Level 1 Course. Later that same year, I joined the Committee, sharing the role of secretary with Claire. Sharing the role has not only eased the administrative burden for both of us but has also forged a strong bond. Having another female to support and bounce ideas off of has been truly incredible.

My dedication to my current roles stems from a profound love for Weightlifting, driven by a belief in the transformative influence of sports, particularly in empowering women. Weightlifting has not only made me physically stronger but has also instilled confidence, strength, and determination across all areas of my life. I am passionate about sharing these benefits with others. Beyond my roles as a coach educator and Committee member, I am committed to promoting inclusivity and visibility for females across various aspects of our sport, whether as athletes, in Board/Committee roles, or through educational initiatives.

I am convinced that showcasing women in diverse roles within the sport is essential. It not only reinforces the idea that women can excel in any aspect of Weightlifting but also serves as a source of inspiration for others. By actively participating in and contributing to various areas of our sport, I hope to encourage more females to embrace and excel in Weightlifting, fostering a community where women are celebrated and empowered at every level.

Claire McLarnon : Secretary & WIS Officer

I stumbled into weightlifting towards the end of my running phase in my late thirties; as someone who has always enjoyed many sports (horse riding, judo, badminton to name a few), I realised I had finally found my sport and my place.  I have volunteered in many capacities along the way from the badminton club, to counting endless smartie tubes full of loose change in the primary school PTA, to the committee in my own weightlifting club.  In 2022 I decided to step away from senior competition, focus more on coaching and took on a position in the Weightlifting Ireland Board.

Adamant from early conversations, that I didn’t want to just be a token female on the Board,  I have endeavoured to grow weightlifting and opportunities within our sport.  Embarking on the General Secretary role with Villy has been like a whole new sport – climbing one of the steepest learning curves known to women.  It has also been one of the most rewarding; learning, growth, laughter and friendship.  Beyond making up the mandatory 40% of female representation on the Board, we are striving to create a culture within Weightlifting Ireland that values womens contribution to leadership and governance and sees it as central to the growth and development of our sport.  

The Women in Sport Officer role has brought connection through our sport.  It has been amazing to witness the growth of females in our sport over the last 10 years; from being the only female competitor in one of my early WI events, to celebrating Ireland’s first ever European medal being achieved by Tham Nguyen.  Beyond the platform, the female community within Weightlifting Ireland is flourishing, the roots of connection are growing island wide.  I am passionate about the inclusivity of weightlifting, it is for everyone regardless of sex, size or age; a sport for sports, a sport for physical and mental strength and a sport that builds confidence and empowers all.  I also love that I get to share this sport with my thirteen year old daughter; I believe her foundation in weightlifting is building her strength, resilience and determination for the future, while demonstrating community and how strong females support and build each other up.

Weightlifting Ireland has so many WIS Advocates in each province, from the grassroots coaches working in their local communities, whether in their Clubs, or part of our WIS programs, to the female competitors, whether taking their first steps onto the platform, or the international stage, to officials supporting every WI event, to the key roles carried out by Villy, Lucy, Shauna and Caroline.  Weightlifting Ireland is currently a completely voluntary organisation and everyone who offers a bit of their time should be recognised and championed as a valued Sport Maker!