RSPBANI re-ushers in familiar era
A late election challenge for the chair role of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association’s powerful Northern Ireland branch resulted in a defeat for Erinn McIlwaine, with well-established association leader George Ussher gaining the position in a vote of nine to seven, with one abstention at the branch annual general meeting on November 27, 2021.
The 17 bands at the online meeting represented 18% of the branch’s 95 organizations listed as members on the branch website, although it is unclear whether all of the bands listed have kept current with dues during the last two seasons cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In RSPBA elections, each band has one vote.
Ussher replaces outgoing chair Ray Hall, who left after nine years in the role.
Ussher has held various roles with the RSPBA over the last 30 years, including as chair of RSPBANI until he stepped down in 2003 and president of the RSPBA in the 2010s.
McIlwaine, who threw his hat into the ring on November 25th, is the bass drummer with Grade 1 Closkelt, and has often been outspoken about the need for the RSPBA to change. He is now the branch’s media officer.
In 2015, Ussher played a central role in failure of the proposed Spring Gatherin’ initiative. His background as a piper or drummer, if any, is not known.
With a population of approximately 1.9-million, Northern Ireland boasts the world’s highest density of competing pipe bands in any country per capita. The Northern Ireland branch of the RSPBA is one of the most vocal and powerful in the organization.
RSPBA Northern Ireland branch at ‘crossroads’ with leadership election
November 26, 2021
Ussher to step down as RSPBA chairman
January 31, 2003
Spring Gatherin’ nixes contests under alleged RSPBA pressure
March 19, 2015
Bands reject RSPBA motion to require payment of lapsed dues
March 13, 2021