Banbridge man Mervyn Herron has all but parted company with the Royal Scottish Pipe Bands Association under a cloud of controversy.
An RSPBA Director until he was voted out of the post last year, Mr Herron has now resigned as the Northern Ireland branch’s Contest Committee Chairman, citing “issues” with the 2015 Annual General Meeting at which he was replaced in the former role.
In a letter of resignation, Mr Herron said there was nothing vindictive in it, but, having “worked tirelessly in the planning and execution of Pipe Band competitions in Northern Ireland and further afield for over 30 years”, his unlooked-for departure from the board of directors made his position as Contest Committee Chairman “untenable”.
He claimed to have had little or no contact with senior branch officers since its November meeting, something he described as “disappointing and heartbreaking” in the run-up to a new season.
“I fail to see how under the circumstances I could possibly work effectively for the bands and present credible events to our supporters in a way I have always done with relative success,” he wrote.
Mr Herron joined RSPBNI ranks in November 1983 as Secretary of the County Down Section and was soon thereafter appointed to the governing board on the National Council.
It was in 2013, when the RSPBA became a company limited by guarantee, that he was re-appointed as RSPBA Director.
In 2001 the post of branch secretary became that of Contest Administrator and latterly Contest Committee Chairman. In that role, Mr Herron was involved in all pipe band championships.
In announcing his departure, he said he had first consulted widely and agonised over the decision with local bands, supporters and advisors.
He wrote too: “I can say this is not the ravings of one individual who has simply lost a vote.
“What happened to me goes to the very heart, the ethos and founding principles of the RSPBA.”
Mr Herron said he was grateful for what he called the “complete and unequivocal support” he had had from various bands and individuals and he called on those at the RSPBANI “directly involved” in the matter to consider their positions.
He later added: “It will be changed times being on the other side of the arena but in life things change.
A RSPBANI spokesperson said: “Mr Mervyn Herron informed the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, Northern Ireland Branch President on 4 April that he had resigned from his post as Contest Committee Chairman.
“The RSPBANI Executive Committee, while regretting Mervyn’s decision, respects his wishes and thanks him for the work he has done.
“Mervyn has carried out a huge amount of work for the Northern Ireland Branch and Headquarters in Scotland over three decades and it is unfortunate that he does not wish to continue in the role of Contest Committee Chair that he was elected to by the bands.”