18 May, 11:09
IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne has issued a statement following confirmation of Ronan O'Gara's decision to retire from playing professional rugby.
The Thomond clubman began refereeing in his native Munster at junior club level, but through the work of the IRFU's Referee Development programme, he has progressed to the highest levels.
This weekend also sees Ulster referee Simon McDowell take charge of the Barclays Churchill Cup final, which takes place this Saturday when England Saxons take on Scotland 'A' at Toyota Park in Chicago.
The final of the Churchill Cup last year was refereed by George Clancy, who has recently been included among the top tier panel of IRB referees.
Commenting on the appointments, the IRFU's Director of Refereeing Owen Doyle said: "Peter's appointment is a positive message for Irish referees at every level.
"His progress to this point has been extremely encouraging for our development programmes in the four provinces and along with Simon McDowell's appointment in the Churchill Cup, it caps what has been an excellent season for Irish referees."
The start of the season began well with Alain Rolland becoming the first Irish referee to take control of a Rugby World Cup final when he took charge of the South Africa v England match. Both Rolland and fellow Irish referee Alan Lewis were members of the referee panel for the Rugby World Cup.
IRFU Referee Development Officer David Keane also continued the success at international Sevens level where he officiated at two finals in the eight-leg grand prix of the IRB World Sevens Series.
Ireland's first female referee, Aoife McCarthy, has also had a successful season, taking charge of the Hong Kong Sevens final and also officiating at the recent Women's European Championship where she took charge of the final between England and Wales.
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