Fencing Ireland is the governing body of the sport of fencing in Ireland.

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 selection for international competitions, with veterans fencing, with youth fencing, and with marketing.


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)

Fencing Ireland Committee 2018/19

The 2018/19 board was elected at the AGM held on 10 June 2018.


Laura Donaghy joined the board in 2014 after a brief stint fencing épée internationally, working on reforms to the domestic calendar, selection process, and communication strategy. Laura is the first female chair in the federation’s 82-year history.


Honorary Secretarysecretary@irishfencing.net

Desmond Gilhooly is a member of the European Fencing Confederation’s SEMI Commission. Having been involved in Irish fencing for many years, Des joined the board in 2014 and is best-known within the sport as an expert on equipment and DT.


Honorary Treasurertreasurer@irishfencing.net

An accountant by training, Kevin Foley has fenced foil internationally for Ireland and won four Intervarsity titles with UCD. He was co-opted onto the board in 2017 and elected Treasurer in 2018.


Board of Directors

  • Aidan Clarke
  • Achilleas Floudas
  • Virginie Gautier
  • Philip Lee
  • Nuala McGarrity
  • Owen McNamee
  • Joseph Richardson
  • Michael Ryan
  • Duncan Salter


Additional Personnel

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



Selection Committee 2017-2020

  • Convenor: Nuala McGarrity
  • Chair: Owen McNamee
  • Laura Donaghy
  • Eamonn McGrattan


  • 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.