The IRFU recognises that change will always induce a level of anxiety; equally the Union's work through the consultative and strategic planning processes reveal that to do nothing would be to fail in creating a better environment and future for Irish rugby, clubs, players, volunteers and supporters alike.
The plan will be the result of the most comprehensive and open grass roots review ever conducted by any Irish sporting body. Until then the IRFU will continue to do all it can to engage with all parties on the domestic league structures proposed for the 2005-6 season.
It is important to note that the structure of the game of rugby has changed irrevocably and experienced more upheaval in the last 9 years than the previous 120 years of amateur status. This is the first time, since professionalism was introduced in 1995, that Irish rugby has had the chance to take stock of these changes so that it can plan to assess and stabilise the club environment. The Union's assessment points to the need for growing the sport at all levels which will require a rejuvenated and revitalised club scene as the game's bedrock. A healthy club scene including, but not exclusive to, senior team level will be vital if Irish rugby is to survive as a serious sport in this country or as a worthy competitor on the world stage. All clubs need to ensure that they are looking beyond their own immediate interests to ensure that they are also preparing the ground for their long term welfare as well as the overall growth of the sport.Philip Browne.