COMMENTS Tom Ryan, GAA Director General, said recently that ‘Dublin GAA get the most funding because they generate the most money’. Pic: Sportsfile
MAYO club delegates have expressed their anger and frustration at the ‘inequality of funding’ provided to Dublin by the GAA and asked Mayo GAA chiefs to raise the issue at next Saturday’s Annual Congress in Wexford.
The topic arose at last Thursday evening’s County Board meeting in Castlebar during a discussion regarding the motions for the 2019 GAA Congress.
Mayo club delegates voted strongly in favour of supporting Donegal’s proposal that no team is allowed to nominate Croke Park as their home venue in the Super 8s.
Ardnaree delegate Johnny O’Malley then raised the idea of a motion for the 2020 GAA Congress tackling the ‘inequality of funding’ going towards Dublin. He was referencing the €16.63 million in development funds received by the All-Ireland champions from Croke Park between 2007 and 2017, far more than any other county.
Mayo are 26th on that list, having received only €584,561 in the same period.
County Treasurer Kevin O’Toole said, ‘It’s not Croke Park that’s granting the money to them. It’s the politicians you need to talk to’ — in reference to former Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, who played a significant role in Government funds being provided to Dublin GAA, close to €1 million per-year since 2005 via Sports Ireland.
O’Toole pointed out that the GAA act as a ‘medium’ to distribute the funds.
Johnny O’Malley called it ‘an annual grant to the wealthiest clubs in Ireland’ and called for an equal spread.
“But, to add to all of that, you have the whole fiasco of Croke Park, where we, the clubs here, are stumping up €14 million that we are paying for MacHale Park, and we made our contribution to Croke Park down through time. Yet Dublin have use of land and don’t even have to provide a stadium.
“Every county should get their share of that €1 million.”
South Mayo Board chairman, John Farragher, said it was a ‘crazy situation’ that ‘the majority of clubs’ in Dublin have a full-time Games Promotion officer, pointing out that ‘we have only three or four here’ [in Mayo].
Bord na nÓg chairman Con Moynihan believes that Mayo could have more coaches if they weren’t ‘burdened’ with such debt.
“The fact we’re giving retailers up and down the country our money [travelling to matches], and we were sorely missed last year [in overall attendances],” he said. “If we weren’t burdened by our debt and loans, and this stadium [MacHale Park] was granted proper grant funding, then I think clubs would have no problem in being able to resource coaching in the county.
“But it’s this feeling that Dublin have a free stadium to play their matches in, a free training facility in Abbottstown, contrary to the myth they they’re training in the mud and dirt on some pitch in the middle of Ballybrack. And the fact of how much we spent on mileage last year… these are all disadvantages.
“This is not a whinging exercise, because we’ll still be the second best if not the best team in the country this year…. when ye [County Board] are down in Wexford [at the GAA’s Annual Congress] next week, I hope ye will press this.”
County Board chairman, Mike Connelly, added that ‘the only thing keeping rural communities alive is the GAA’ and the constant squeeze on them is making their survival increasingly difficult.
He added: “We’re battling with them [GAA] at the minute in relation to Lough Lannagh and getting funding. I can guarantee you that.”
Austin Payne (Shrule/Glencorrib) concluded the discussion and made reference to a comment recently made by GAA Director General, Tom Ryan.
“I hope you’re successful in getting funding because Tom Ryan was on a podcast recently and said that Dublin get the most funding because they generate the most money,” he said.
“Well, after Dublin, it’s Mayo that generate the most money, through our spectators and you can see that from the figures last year. Yet we’re the 26th in terms of funding?”