About Us - Fencing Ireland

Welcome to Fencing Ireland – Email info@irishfencing.net

About Us

About Us

Fencing Ireland is the governing body of the sport of fencing in Ireland. Located in the National Sports Campus, Snugsborough Rd. Blanchardstown, Dublin 15.

It is recognised as such by the Federation d’Escrime Internationale (FIE), the governing body of the sport worldwide, of which it is a member, and by the Irish Sports Council and the Olympic Council of Ireland. It is also affiliated to the European Fencing Confederation (EFC), and to the European Veterans Fencing Committee (EVFC).

Fencing Ireland is structured as a limited company with articles of association and a constitution. Its activities are managed by a committee elected by members at an Annual General Meeting. Sub-committees deal with international selection, veterans and youth fencing, and marketing.

General Manager - Dearbhla Foley  0868052188 - dfoley@irishfencing.net

Development Officer - Colm Flynn  0861933921 development@irishfencing.net

Fencing Ireland


The object for which the federation is established is to promote, foster and develop the sport and art of fencing.

Core Values and Principles

As the recognised National Governing Body (NGB) of fencing in Ireland, Fencing Ireland is established to make rules and regulations for the proper conduct of competitive fencing in Ireland and by Irish athletes abroad.


Fencing Ireland’s Constitution (comprising Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association) may be viewed here: FI Constitution (PDF)



Our History


  • 1906:Irish Fencing Club set up in Dublin, running until 1917 as the first sword club in Ireland to place a focus on sport and fitness.
  • 1933:Irish Fencing Club revived, swiftly followed by four more clubs in Dublin and Cork.
  • 1936:The Irish Amateur Fencing Federation (IAFF) formally established as an umbrella body for the sport. The first President was Dr (later Sir) John Lumsden, founder of the Irish Red Cross and St John Ambulance Ireland.
  • 1952:Ireland sends its first fencers to the Olympic Games. Epeeists Tom Kearney and George Carpenter were joined by Harry Thuillier at foil and Patrick Duffy in both weapons.
  • 1960:Two ‘firsts’ in Rome as Shirley Armstrong becomes the first Irish woman to fence at the Olympic Games, while Ireland makes its debut in the team events, contesting Men’s Epee.
  • 1964:Michael Ryan and John Bouchier-Hayes compete in all three weapons and reach the quarter-finals at epee and foil respectively.
  • 1968:Ireland fields a team in all three men’s weapons at the Mexico Olympics.
  • 1992:The tricolour appears at the Barcelona Olympics after a 20-year absence as Michael O’Brien becomes the first Irishman since John Bouchier-Hayes to compete in the epee.
  • 2008:The IAFF changes its name to the Irish Fencing Federation (IFF).
  • 2008:At Beijing, Siobhan Byrne becomes the first Irish Olympian to contest Women’s Sabre.
  • 2016:New branding and logo as the IFF becomes Fencing Ireland.




Like all governing bodies, the Fencing Ireland has rules and regulations which it and its members must follow. All fencers should take the time to read and familiarise themselves with the information below, as well as checking the related links on this page.


Competitions are governed by FIE rules. These were adopted in June 1914 by the international congress of National Olympic Committees for use in all events at the Olympic Games. They were first codified in 1914 by the Marquis de Chasseloup-Laubat and M. Paul Anspach. They have been revised and restructured by various FIE Congresses.

Please note that if you intend to compete you must make it your business to be familiar with F.I.E. regulations. Individuals who wish to take part in fencing competitions in Ireland must hold a valid IFF licence. Overseas fencers may present an FIE licence or a current licence from their home jurisdiction.

Children in Sport and Child Protection

Children are the lifeblood of any sport as they are the competitors of tomorrow. If it is not enjoyable for them or they have a bad experience of it, they will not continue. Fencing Ireland is a signatory of the Code of Ethics and Good Practice for Children in Sport to ensure that participation is an enjoyable and fulfilling experience for all children who are involved. The Children’s Officer is Ulla Kappus and she may be contacted through the Honorary Secretary.


The IFF supports the work of the Irish Sports Council anti-doping unit and the World Anti-Doping Agency and condemns the uses of any substance or method to achieve improved results in competition.

Dr. Lorraine McGill (email c/o: secretary@irishfencing.net) is the appointed Anti-Doping Officer for the IFF and the concerns of any fencer in relation to anti-doping matters may be directed to her.


At our Annual General Meeting held on Sunday March 26th 2000, it was unanimously agreed that the following object be added to the Memorandum of Association of The Irish Fencing Federation:

“(w) to provide by Rules, Regulations and Bye-Laws or otherwise to control doping in the sport of fencing and to take such action, including testing, to combat doping in the sport of fencing.”

Your Responsibility

It is very important for each and every participant, particularly those who intend to compete abroad, to familiarise themselves with the advice of the Irish Sports Council, World Anti Doping Agency and the FIE.

Please remember that external Doping Control Officers may be present at any fencing competition. While it is not envisaged that there will be any intentional infractions, many ‘over the counter’ and prescription medicines (as well as vitamins, herbal and nutritional supplements) may contain prohibited substances. There has been so much negative publicity about doping in sport that it is no longer possible to plead ignorance, so we strongly advise you to have your doctor check on the status of all drugs.


Anti-Discrimination & Anti-Harassment

Policy Statement

The Irish Fencing Federation (“the Federation”) has in place practices which are designed to ensure that all staff and members are protected from discrimination and harassment, and that claims of discrimination and harassment are dealt with speedily and constructively.


The Federation believes that in a civil society discrimination and harassment are unacceptable and, furthermore, that staff and patrons can be adversely affected by incidents of discrimination and harassment in facilities. Staff have a responsibility to provide an environment that is free from harassment and discrimination in all forms, including those based on race, ethnicity, gender, ability, disability, sexuality and religion.

This policy is intended as a framework document, allowing the Federation the flexibility to accommodate local needs and circumstances. However, the policy directs that the Federation take responsibility for establishing mechanisms and procedures to actively counter discrimination and harassment. This recognizes the increasing involvement of management to local level.

This Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy is further supported by a range of legislation.


  1. Discrimination
  • Refers to any behaviour or practice which reflects an assumption of superiority of one group over another;
  • Is behaviour which disadvantages people on the basis of their real or perceived membership of a particular group; and
  • Includes such behaviour as less favourable treatment, unfair exclusion, and asking discriminatory questions.

1.1 Direct discrimination takes place when a person treats another person, on the basis of an attribute or characteristic, less favourably than a person without that attribute or characteristic. These attributes or characteristics could include gender, marital status, pregnancy, parental status, family responsibilities, sexuality, ethnicity, age or disability.

1.2 Indirect discrimination takes place when a person imposes a condition, requirement or practice which is unreasonable or disadvantages a member of a group who shares or is believed to share an attribute on the basis of gender, marital status, pregnancy, parental status, family responsibilities, sexuality, ethnicity, age or disability. Indirect discrimination can also occur when groups or individuals are treated as being the same, although they are different. By not taking differences into account, one group or individual benefits at the expense of the others.

  1. Harassment:
  • Is the exercise of power by one person over another, which often presents as bullying behaviour
  • Involves physical, verbal or psychological behaviour which makes another person feel embarrassed, offended, upset, devalued, degraded, afraid, frustrated or angry.
  • Includes insulting, demeaning, humiliating, offensive, vilifying or intimidatory behaviour or behaviour which incites hatred.
  • Includes a wide range of conduct that causes another person to feel offended, humiliated, insulted or ridiculed.
  • Is behaviour which is unwelcome, unreciprocated, uninvited and usually repeated
  • May cause damaging stereotypes to be maintained
  • Is a breach of proper standards of conduct and professional behaviour;
  • May be based on misunderstanding or be a deliberate act based on a subjective perspective.

Goal - It is intended that the Federation will provide a supportive environment which is free from discriminatory practices and harassment and which promotes personal respect and physical and emotional safety.


Federation Management will be responsible for:

  • Implementing this policy within all Clubs affiliated to it
  • Being aware of the legislative requirements relating to discrimination and harassment
  • Ensuring that the preparation and review of plans and grievance procedures involve consultation with all Clubs affiliated to the Federation and include the range of discriminatory behaviours
  • Ensuring that patrons, club members are familiar with the Federation’s approach, and understand their rights and responsibilities in relation to it
  • Promoting this policy within all Clubs affiliated to the Federation
  • Monitoring the Federation’s plans to counter discrimination and harassment, including documenting reported grievances, and initiating reviews of the approaches at regular intervals
  • Ensuring sensitivity and confidentiality, and the protection of the rights of all individuals, and
  • Practising non-discriminatory behaviours

Affiliated Clubs will be responsible for:

  • Ensuring that activities are congruent with and support this policy
  • Helping people to develop competencies to challenge discriminatory attitudes and behaviours in themselves and others
  • Being aware of the legislative requirements relating to discrimination and harassment
  • Ensuring that claims of discrimination and harassment are speedily and constructively addressed according to the Federation’s strategies; and
  • Practising non-discriminatory behaviours
  • Providing advice and support materials for the enactment of this policy
  • Assisting with professional development



Contacts / Officals

Fencing Ireland  Management Committee

Chairperson – Des Gilhooley - chairperson@irishfencing.net

Des started fencing in 1993 with what was then St. Patrick's College, Maynooth (now N.U.I. Maynooth). He has worked at all levels in the sport most notably as Directoire Technique at competitions. Before joing the board in 2015 he had been managing and repairing the Federation equipment. He is a member of the European Fencing Confederation technical committee (SEMI) since 2017. Having volunteered at major international tournaments he encourages people to take part in that aspect of the sport at least once to see the different elements that go into making a successful event. It is his hope that Fencing Ireland can bring a major championship to Dublin at some point

Company Secretary –Joseph Richardson  secretary@irishfencing.net

Joseph joined the board in 2018. He is an épéeist who began fencing as a veteran and enjoys competing. In June 2019 he took over as Company Secretary for Fencing Ireland

Honorary Treasurer – Kevin Foley treasurer@irishfencing.net

Kevin, is a senior executive and business leader with proven success in a number of financial roles. He is currently the Chief Financial Officer of Aqua Comms, and sits on a number of boards. He was co-opted onto the Fencing Ireland board in 2017 and elected Treasurer in 2018. He has fenced foil internationally for Ireland and won four Intervarsity titles with UCD.

General Manager - Dearbhla Foley – dfoley@irishfencing.net

Dearbhla Joined Fencing Ireland in June 2019. She looks after the day to day running of Fencing Ireland and the development and growth of fencing nationwide. She also looks after the well being of all clubs and members, so do not hesitate to contact her with any queries.

Development Officer - Colm Flynn development@irishfencing.net

Colm is the Development Officer for Fencing Ireland and for fencing in Trinity College Dublin where he is also Head Coach. Colm represented Ireland internationally as an épéeist. He captained our Men’s Épée team at the senior 5 Nations competition on five occasions. He coaches all three weapons. His role with Fencing Ireland includes delivering our schools outreach programme and developing our coaching structures.


The Board

The Board of Fencing Ireland ( FI) is responsible for the overall governance, development and management of the sport of fencing in FI.  The Board sets the strategic direction of the sport, appoints the GM and monitors progress and results.

The Board consists of eleven Board Directors, of whom eight are elected and three appointed by the Board (these three being the Chair of the Board and of Fencing Ireland, and two Independent Directors).  The Board’s quorum rules specify that the elected members must always be in the majority.  In addition to these voting directors, Board meetings are attended by the FI Chairperson and Home Country and athlete representatives.  Staff members attend some meetings, or parts of meetings, to brief/advise the Board.

Although some Board members may be content to give out contact details, normally they should be contacted through Head Office - dfoley@irishfencing.net

Board of Directors

  • Virginie Gautier
  • Nuala McGarrity
  • Owen McNamee
  • Joseph Richardson
  • Michael Ryan
  • Duncan Salter
  • Desmond Gilhooly
  • Fiadhniat McDonough
  • Anne Marie O’Sullivan
  • Ursula Kappus
  • Kevin Foley

Additional Personnel

  • Web Architect: Scott O’Malley – scott@irishfencing.net
  • Children’s Officer: Ulla Kappus
  • Anti-Doping Officer: Achilleas Floudas
  • Medical Adviser: Pauline Fleming



Selection Committee 2017-2020

  • Convenor: Nuala McGarrity
  • Chair: Owen McNamee
  • Stephen Concannon
  • Joanna Ramalhao???

Youth Committee

  • Virginie Gautier
  • Ulla Kappus
  • Patrick Dight
  • Julian Smith

Competitions Committee

  • Duncan Salter
  • Desmond Gilhooly
  • John Jones

Audit Committee

  • Philip Lee
  • Julian Smith

Delegates to FIE and EFC

  • Desmond Gilhooly
  • Nuala McGarrity









Please click on the link below to view our Strategy Documents.

Should you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact the office - dfoley@irishfencing.net



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