High Court dispute over motorsport events calendar meeting resolved

High Court dispute over motorsport events calendar meeting resolved
High Court dispute over motorsport events calendar meeting resolved

A High Court dispute over the holding of a meeting to set dates for motorsports events in Ireland for 2024/2025 has been resolved.

Earlier this month, the court granted an order restraining the holding of the meeting on July 12th by the sport's governing body, the Irish Motorsport Federation, trading as Motorsport Ireland (MI).

The order was granted to County Galway Motor Club CLG, which organises one of the largest and longest-running stage/international rallies in Galway every year.

The Galway club claimed MI was interfering with its contractual right, as an affiliated member to MI, by excluding it from participating in the assigning of dates for rallies.


The order was granted on an ex parte, with only the Galway club represented, and the matter was adjourned by Mr Justice Brian O'Moore.

When the case returned before the judge on Tuesday, Hugh McDowell BL, for the Galway club, said the injunction application could be struck out after it had been agreed with the defendant that the meeting could now take place with a draft calendar of dates to provisionally include those dates proposed by Galway Motor Club.

The judge agreed to those orders and said it was a sensible settlement.  Mr McDowell also said his client is to get a contribution to its costs from the defendant.

The meeting to assign dates and prepare calendars for events to take place over 2024/2025 was due to go ahead on Wednesday night, but hours before it was to take place, the judge granted Hugh McDowell BL, for the Galway club, the order following an ex parte application.


The judge agreed to make that order.

Gary Leonard, president of Galway Motor Club, said in an affidavit a dispute initially arose with MI over the holding of a meeting between the Galway Club and MI following concerns from MI about the running of the 2023 Galway rally last February.

MI had at that point threatened to suspend Galway Motor Club for 45 days, but this was withdrawn following a meeting.

However, MI also said one of its overseeing bodies, the Rallies Commission "may wish to do a more in-depth investigation" with regards to a steward’s report about the 2023 Galway rally.


Mr Leonard said his club did not hear anything more about the Rallies Commission investigation until May 5th last when the club was informed that arising from the investigation, MI's Motor Sports Council had decided Galway would not be granted a date for any stage rally in 2024.

A meeting was arranged for the end of June with a view to resolving the matter but when no information was forthcoming about the material on which the penalty was based, Galway Motor Club's solicitors wrote seeking the information.  But Mr Leonard said there was still no response.

Mr Leonard said he learned from another local club that a meeting had been set for July 12th in Portlaoise to agree the rally dates for 2024 and 2025.

When Mr Leonard raised this with MI, the only response he got was that MI was willing to provide assistance to facilitate Galway returning to running a stage rally in 2025.

The future of the Galway Motor Club was at risk due to the unilateral actions of MI and/or its Motorsports Council who acted in breach of the affiliation agreement, in breach of 'Remember me and I will be with you', performed by the late singer Christie Hennessy.

Written by Kenneth Fox.

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