Recession may prove timely saviour of GAA
Many sectors of the GAA have lost the run of themselves as regards money and it might take the present recession to restore financial sanity. Some county boards and clubs have been getting involved in financial dealings and transactions that are far removed from the ideals of GAA founders.
We all know about some county managers being illegally paid from €30,000 to €75,000 a year. We know too about some star players getting large appearance fees to attend even GAA functions, although many players do attend such functions for nothing. The country is awash with well-paid, full-time coaches in every county and third-level institution in the country and we are now installing full-time, paid county secretaries. And probably the biggest expense in the GAA is the illegal payment of club coaches, which runs into millions every year.
All this was fine and dandy for the past 10 years as the Irish economy thrived on unprecedented levels of opulence in every parish in the land, almost. The weekly GAA club lotto brought in something like €30m every year among the 3,000 or so clubs. And then to cap it all, several county boards decided to become property developers. Not content with the prosperous state in which the GAA had already found itself in the early parts of this century, and possibly blinded by the great success of the Croke Park development, it was decided the time was ripe to cash in on many of the famous GAA county grounds, a lot of which were situated in prime locations in many towns.