He said: "On the eve of the 19th staging of the AIB League, I would like to wish all the clubs, coaches, players, volunteers and supporters the best of luck for the coming season.
"The AIB League has endured as the top club rugby competition since its inception 19 years ago, producing many memorable occasions.
"In that time, rugby has seen many changes with the advent of professionalism and while the game continues to evolve each season, the IRFU's focus is to concentrate our efforts on maintaining and continuing to develop domestic rugby.
"This is best illustrated in the recent launch of 'Building on Solid Foundations', the next strategic plan for Irish rugby up to 2012.
"The key objective in the plan and the emphasis for all of us involved in rugby is to maintain a healthy domestic game with quality at all levels of participation. Without that, we cannot move forward and continue the growth of Irish rugby.
"We have already seen the beginning of this new vision for domestic rugby, as next season there will be a new format in Division One of the AIB League.
"The objective of this new format and indeed the qualification for it this season is to deliver a higher level of competition and quality for all of the participating clubs and supporters.
"I would like to give my thanks to our title sponsors, AIB, for their unwavering support for this competition.
"Finally, I would like to pass on my best wishes again to all of the competing clubs in the three divisions of the AIB League. Enjoy the season."
Click on the below links for our divison-by-division previews for the AIB League's opening weekend: