JOE Reynolds resigned his position as chairman of Horse Sport Ireland on Thursday evening after a turbulent two weeks which saw the other seven board members resign.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, announced four new Ministerial appointees to the board while Horse Sport Ireland will appoint four ordinary members in time.

Reynolds was appointed to the board of Horse Sport Ireland in 2016, and he was appointed Chairman by the DAFM in 2018. He took over as interim CEO in September 2020 following the departure of Ronan Murphy and resumed his position as chair in January 2022 when current CEO Denis Duggan took office.

In a statement, Reynolds said deep divisions at board level in recent months led to this fallout. “I have worked throughout my six years with Horse Sport Ireland for the good of the horse sport sector, and, at all times, I have tried to protect and enhance the sector.

“In recent months, deep divisions have arisen at Board level, and it has not been possible to build a bridge between the differing parties. These divisions related to a wide range of core issues, some of which were personality driven, while others were linked to historic issues within some affiliated groups.

“Matters came to a head recently when a number of Directors voted in a favour of a motion at a Board meeting against specific legal advice. The course of events led directly to the ongoing Board issues becoming irreconcilable.”

Reynolds added he had been liaising closely with the DAFM on the issues. “Ten days ago, I met the Minister for Agriculture and I offered to stand aside, given the schism at the Board.

“He requested that I remain in my position, while the Department took steps to make changes to the Board. I agreed to do so and have continued to work closely with Department officials in recent days and kept them fully informed of developments.

“I have now decided to step aside, as the Minister is ready to appoint a new Board with a clean slate. I would like to thank the Minister and his officials for their support and assistance.

“Throughout this difficult period, the staff and executive of Horse Sport Ireland have worked tirelessly on behalf of the horse sport sector, and I would like to thank them for their efforts.

“Our 52 staff are exemplary professionals across a range of disciplines, who are hugely committed to our partners in sport across the entire horse sport sector. Despite the difficulties at Board level, HSI staff have continued their efforts on behalf of the sector.”

Reynolds added among his highlights during a difficult Covid period was the staging of the HSI Showjumping Masters, which was shown live on RTÉ, as well as the recent Horse Country documentary.