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Celtic Club’s new chief vows fresh approach

November 13, 2013 • Local, News, Victoria,

Nial Finegan is looking forward to working with members on the club's future.

Nial Finegan is looking forward to working with members on the club’s future.

Seamus Moloughney has stepped aside as president of the Celtic Club after six years in the role.

Mr Moloughney informed a recent meeting of club committee members he wanted to remain on the board of the 126-year-old organisation, which is due to hold its AGM tomorrow night.

Dublin-born Nial Finegan is the club’s new president. The 44-year-old Victorian Department of Justice executive has been living in Australia for the past ten years. He was educated at St Joseph’s CBS in Drogheda and Dundalk RTC, and lived in London before moving to Victoria.

He is a qualified chartered engineer and holds an MBA and graduate diploma from the Australian Institution of Company Directors. He is also an ambassador for the White Ribbon campaign to end violence against women.

Mr Finegan told the Irish Echo he hoped to provide a fresh breath and a new way of engaging with members.

“To move the committee forward, we needed some freshness,” he said.

“The club is not about being a second-rate plastic paddy Irish pub, it’s much more than that. It’s about heritage value and taking pride in what we are.

“The actual location is the meeting place of the club, so that’s obviously very important. There is a group of members who want things to stay the way they are because they are comfortable with that, and there is a group of members who want something better for the future.

“The fact of the matter is the club in its current state is not sustainable, so something needs to be done.”

Mr Finegan said he was eager to expand the club’s membership base to new migrants and second, third and fourth-generation Irish Australians.

“You think of Victoria: best place in the world, built by the Irish. And the membership is only about 600-800 people. That’s too small. How do we grow it?”

He said next week’s AGM would be an important opportunity for the members to give the committee a clear mandate for developing the club’s future.

Mr Moloughney said Mr Finegan has his “blessing” as his successor, and wished him luck in the new role.

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