April 05, 2016

Herron resigns from RSPBA after 30 years’ service

Mervyn Herron

Being a volunteer for piping and drumming associations can be such a thankless job that there’s little wonder that it’s so difficult to find smart, keen individuals who step up with their time and expertise, interested only in contributing their time and expertise, rather than the ego-trip, “perks” and power-rush that might accompany the role. So often it ends badly.

And after 30 consecutive years of commitment to the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, Mervyn Herron of Banbridge, Northern Ireland, has submitted his formal resignation from his post as Contest Committee Chairman for the Northern Ireland Branch, perhaps the most powerful branch within the association.

Herron had been voted out as a director on the RSPBA’s Board at the Northern Ireland Branch’s annual general meeting last November.

His ultimate decision to leave the organization outright stemmed from what was considered by some as a stacked vote to oust him. Herron alleged that votes against him as a Director were cast by otherwise non-attending bands via members temporarily joining so that their votes could be counted, and then reverting back to their original band in the New Year, alleging that the coup was orchestrated by the association.

If the alleged orchestrated ouster were true, the reasons for it remain uncertain. Some contend that Herron fell out of favour with the RSPBA over his support of the 2015 Spring Gatherin’ event’s attempt to create a pipe band competition that did not strictly adhere to RSPBA guidelines, including allowing the audience to participate in judging. Others suggest that it was a result of personal vendetta.

RSPBA Northern Ireland branch Executive Secretary David Scott resigned, after serving with the organization for 10 years, reportedly over the Spring Gatherin’ matter. The event subsequently dropped its pipe band competition due to what it cited as pressure exerted on participating bands not to take part.

Herron had served with the RSPBA’s Board of Directors as branch representative for 30 years, since 1983 as Secretary of the County Down faction, and Committee Secretary of the Irish Pipe Band Association & RSPBANI Branch joint body that runs the All-Ireland Pipe Band Championships.

Herron had been a staple on the Northern Ireland and international pipe band scene throughout his tenure. He has received widespread support over the alleged insurrection – or “vote-searching” – that allegedly took place at the RSPBANI AGM.

Mervyn Herron (bottom left) at the All-Ireland Pipe Band Championships.

Mervyn Herron is credited by some as being instrumental to the BBC bringing live coverage of the World Pipe Band Championships, an event . . .





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