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World of Sport

15th May 2019

DCU students ‘shocked and saddened’ over treatment of well respected athletics coach

Niall McIntyre

Enda Fitzpatrick has been the head of DCU athletics for the last 18 years.

Over the course of that time-span, he has overseen and shaped a drastic upturn in the universities’ status, performances and achievements in the athletics field.

But it looks like he won’t see a 19th year in Glasnevin.

That’s after the Longford man, a sub four minute miler himself, was informed last week of the universities’ intention to implement a “new direction for sport.” Fitzpatrick will not be a part of this direction with his secondment to the role not to be extended beyond August 31.

DCU’s student athletes, alumni and even some figureheads for sport at the university are disappointed at this course of action, claiming that Fitzpatrick’s loyalty, expertise and dedication to his role will be sorely missed.

On that note, DCU Athletics club have released a statement in an attempt to influence those that walk the corridors of power in North Dublin.

It reads as follows:

It is with profound shock and deep sadness that our DCU Athletics club have been informed by the Athletics Academy Director Enda Fitzpatrick that his secondment to this role will not be extended by the University beyond August 31st 2019. Enda confirmed to the club in recent days that he was informed last week by James Galvin (Director of Sport) and Daire Keogh (Deputy President) where it was stated by them that the University were in the process of implementing “a new direction for sport” This meeting was also attended by our esteemed President Michael Whelan and vice President Professor Niall Moyna who we understand were deeply upset to learn at first hand of this reckless action. The decision to not extend Enda’s secondment is without doubt a very strange one and begs many unanswered questions considering the huge success and glory that our athletes have brought to the University and the widely publicised recognition gained which has so often been spoken about by our president of the University Brian MacCraith

It is important to recognise the huge role that Enda has played during his 18 years involved with DCU Athletics. He has transformed our Athletics club to be recognised as the most prestigious University choice for Athlete development and success at a National level. The outstanding success achieved speaks for itself since Enda first became involved just over eighteen years ago. The transformation of our club where there was no success to where the record books now show a staggering record of 190 TEAM titles being won not to mention the hundreds of individual IUAA titles achieved during this period by our athletes.This is a record never to be surpassed and one that every other University is envious of.

This decision whilst very upsetting to Enda on a personal level is also causing huge anxiety amongst our current students and those who wish to join DCU in the future. The decision for many of us to join DCU was based on the professionalism and dedication that Enda at all times exuded for the University and there was never any doubt that by making the decision to join DCU would be provided with the structures that would ensure we would become the very best we could be under the guidance of Enda and his team of coaches. His commitment to the role not to mention his total dedication and passion  could never be questioned where he very often worked 7 days per week. He made many sacrifices for us including having to give up seeing quality time with his wife ans family to look after his “other family DCU Athletes”. Enda has shown tremendous loyalty to each of us all assisting with gaining entry to the University mentoring us through our academic career and for us that have moved on he was always there and continues to lend his steadfast support throughout our work careers well beyond our time in the University.

It would be unimaginable to even contemplate not being able to knock on Enda’s door or give him a call for advice just to upsetting for many of us to consider. We stand shoulder to shoulder on the fact that the decision to remove Enda from his role will have a profound negative impact on DCU Athletics for many many years to come and we are full sure this will set us back to the dark days where no success was achieved pre-2002. Our fight will continue to influence the decision makers within the University to immediately reverse this decision and allow Enda continue for the next two years until he officially retires.

Your support is deeply appreciated.

DCU Athletics club

DCU have responded to the above appeal, basically claiming that their hands are tied. Their statement reads.

“It is not the practice of DCU to comment on affairs relating to individual cases, however inaccurate commentary has circulated regarding the role of the Head of the Athletics Academy at the University.

For 13 years this role has been filled on the basis of a secondment for the school year, renewable annually by request to the Department of Education and Skills.  In the context of the current teacher shortages at second level, however the Department of Education has issued a circular regulating the Secondment Schemes for Teachers (0029/2018).  
Consistent with this national policy, the Department has informed Dublin City University that, regrettably, secondments which have existed over a period of many years will not be renewed in August. 
In the light of this directive, DCU will create a full-time permanent position as Head of the Athletics Academy which will be publicly advertised in the coming weeks.”


DCU Athletics

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