Scouting Ireland

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Scouting Ireland
Scouting Ireland
Headquarters Larch Hill
Country Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland
Founded January 1, 2004
Membership 40,000 (2010)
Chief Scout Michael John Shinnick

Scouting portal

Scouting Ireland (Irish: Gasóga na hÉireann) is the national Scouting association of Ireland (both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland) and a member of the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM). The Scout Association UK, however, is also active in the latter. Its headquarters are at Larch Hill, County Dublin. It is a voluntary, non-formal educational movement for young people. It is independent, non-political, open to all without distinction of origin, race, creed or gender, in accordance with the purpose, principles and method conceived by Robert Baden-Powell and as stated by WOSM.

The Association

Scouting Ireland was formed on January 1, 2004 from the two original Scout associations in Ireland, Scouting Ireland S.A.I. and Scouting Ireland (CSI). Both associations voted to join together to form a new single association in 2003, following a decision to set this process in motion in 1998. Scouting Ireland has over 40,000 members across Ireland (as of 2010), including Northern Ireland where Scouting Ireland works in partnership with the Scout Association of Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom Scout Association The Scout Association. The volunteers all over the country are supported by a team of Professional Staff who look after the day to day running of the Association.

The Aim & The method

The aim of Scouting Ireland is to encourage the Physical, Intellectual, Emotional, Social, Character and Spiritual development of young people so that they may achieve their full potential and as responsible citizens, to improve society. Of the 750,000 people between the ages of 6 and 18, approximately 2.5% participate in Scouting Ireland.

Scouting Ireland achieves its aims through a system of progressive self-education, known as the Scout method. The principal elements are:

  • Young People and Adults working together
  • Service and Commitment
  • Nature and the outdoors
  • Promise and Law
  • Symbolic Framework
  • Learning by Doing
  • Personal Progression
  • Working in Small Groups


In 1908, Scouting was brought from England and spread across Ireland. The earliest known Scouting event in Ireland was in the Phoenix Park in 1908 with members of the Dublin City Boy Scouts (later Scouting Ireland S.A.I.) taking part.

The coming of the Great War in 1914 could have brought about the collapse of Scouting, but the training provided through the patrol system proved its worth. Patrol leaders took over when adult leaders volunteered for active military duty. Scouts contributed to the war effort in many ways; most notably was the Sea Scouts, who took the place of regular coast guardsmen, thus freeing them from service afloat.

In Dublin, two priests, Frs. Tom and Ernest Farrell followed the progress of Scouting. They noted that in other countries, the Catholic Church had taken up the idea of Scouting. After much study and experimentation, they made a proposal to the bishops of Ireland and were granted a constitution and episcopal patronage in November 1926. Thus, the Catholic Boy Scouts of Ireland was created. It went on to become the largest Scout association on the island.

When war came again in 1939, Scouts carried on under the direction of their patrol leaders. They undertook many national service tasks: messengers, fire watchers, stretcher bearers, salvage collectors and so on. Their success was directly attributed to their good organization and training.

In 1965, CBSI joined with the Scout Association of Ireland to form the Federation of Irish Scout Associations, FISA. Through FISA Irish Scouts were able to play a full part in international Scouting as the World Organisation of the Scout Movement only recognises one Scouting body in each country.


The first Chief Scout elected was Martin Burbridge, the former National Treasurer of Scouting Ireland (CSI). His term will ended with his resignation in 2008. He was succeeded by Michael John Shinnick on appointment by the National Management Committee (NMC) which was ratified by election at National Council in March 2009. Other National Officers include Michael Devins (National Secretary), Francis Minogue (National Treasurer), Ian Davy (Chief Commissioner for Youth Programme) and John Brennan (Chief Commissioner for Adult Resources). Fr. David Kenneally(chairperson of the National Spiritual and Religious Advisory Panel).

For organisational purposes, Ireland is divided into six Scout Provinces; namely the Northern, Southern, North Eastern, South Eastern, Western and Dublin provinces. Each province is subsequently divided into Scout Counties, each having its own duly elected County Commissioner. There is a National Management Committee which acts like a board of directors of the association. Éamonn Lynch is currently CEO and together with his professional team are located the headquarters in Larch Hill.


Currently the Association operates in four sections (note that the age ranges given are approximate):

  • Beaver Scouts (6-8), a fun-based introduction to parts of the Scout method;
  • Cub Scouts (9-11), notable by the uniquely Irish symbolic framework it uses;
  • Scouts (12-15), the next step, which continues to challenge young teenagers in the tradition of Baden-Powell;
  • Venture Scouts (15-17), an older section in Irish Scouting where a Venture Scout Executive under the guidance of an adult Scouter designs and implements activities;
  • Rover Scouts (18-20), the final step in Irish Scouting.

ONE Programme

Scouting Ireland launched ONE Programme at its National Council in March 2010. This Programme is geared to make Youth Members more central in their Programme. See ONE Programme

National Events There are a number of events run in Scouting Ireland. A full list can be found at My Scouts

International Representation

Ann Foley is the International Commissioner for Scouting Ireland.

John Lawlor Jnr (35th Dublin, Donore Avenue) works in the World Bureau and has responsibility for world events

In 2001 John Geoghegan was appointed director of the World Scout Foundation. John started Scouting in Dublin first as a Scout, then as leader of the 73rd Dublin Unit.

Mr. Howard E. Kilroy is Chairman of the World Scout Foundation's Investment Committee


See also

External links