Ian Humphreys has returned for a second stint with Ulster this summer and is determined to make the most of what he calls a 'special place'.
Delivering the National Programmes is Referee Coaching and Development Manager David McHugh together with Referee Development Officers Peter Fitzgibbon, David O'Brien and David Wilkinson.
Neysa Herity and Julie Moran are in charge of all administration issues relating to the work of the department.
Refereeing is key to the game and is an important element of IRFU Policy.
The continued investment in referee development has produced great success over the years and produced some of the most respected match officials in world rugby.
Ireland currently has two top tier IRB match officials.They are George Clancy and John Lacy.
We also have excellent representation at the top level in Europe with Peter Fitzgibbon, Dudley Philips, D Wilkinson and Leo Colgan refereeing regularly in the Heineken Cup, Amlin Challenge Cup and the Rabo Direct Pro 12.
Helen O’Reilly is making great strides as Irelands top female referee.
She is on the IRB top panel of female referees and has been selected to referee in the upcoming Women’s World Cup in France.
The IRFU National Panel is made up of the top referees in the country.
There are currently 50 referees on this panel. These referees service the B&I Cup, the Ulster Bank League and other national competitions.
The Referee Committee is chaired by Stephen Hilditch and its members are Dave McHugh, Tom Aplin, Owen Doyle, Brian Stirling, Bertie Smith and Denis Templeton.
This Committee is responsible for putting in place Referee Panels which officiate in the Ulster Bank League, Rabo Direct pro 12 League and European competitions.
The Panels are merit based, and offer a clear pathway for progression, right up to International level.
International Referees are selected by the IRB Match Official Selection Committee.
Including our top panel of 50 referees, there are close to 500 branch referees in Ireland. These referees are members of a provincial referees association or society and service the domestic game in each province. The various selection and appointment committees in each association and society oversee their appointments.