GAA's 'Tús' initiative for jobless players
THE GAA look set to create up to 200 new coaching jobs for players in a joint-initiative with the Government.
Minister Eamon O Cuiv presented the 'Tús' programme to director general Paraic Duffy and president Christy Cooney, as well as a number of other sporting organisations on Tuesday, which aims to provide funding for those bodies to create new jobs in a bid to stave off the threat of emigration.
"The programme is encouraging the GAA, and other sporting bodies as well, to take on unemployed players as coaches. We would see serious possibilities in that regard to try and find work for players that are unemployed. That will be on the agenda for us. There is more to come from the department and we would be anxious to play our part in that."
Duffy confirmed that the Government would provide the funding for the scheme and hinted the new roles would not be confined to inter-county players.
"They are going to be paying the bill, while we would be providing the training and all of that, but essentially it is Government funding. In fairness, they would like to see us playing a major role because we have the numbers and the coaching structure on the ground. The FAI were there as well and some other organisations. We are probably the biggest in terms of numbers. I think there will be a commitment to get involved in that," he said.
"They would like us to take on maybe 100, 200 people, probably players, unemployed players. They could be quickly upskilled in terms of coaching and the department will provide funding around that. We are going to look very closely at that. We do have a responsibility, but it's not easy. I know people say to us that the GAA should be doing something. But it's not easy. It is something we will be looking at very early in the new year to get off the ground as quick as possible."
In Duffy's last media engagement before the new year, he revealed he had presented his discussion document on payments to managers to the GAA's management committee last weekend.
"They felt they wanted time to consider it because it is a fairly lengthy document. We have a meeting on January 8 or 15, so it is a matter for them to decide where it goes from there," he said.
"My work is done, I have passed it on to Coiste Bainisti and they said that they wanted time to consider it in more detail.
"The hope is that it would initiate a discussion that in turn would lead to policy. That is important to stress that this is not a policy document and the hope is that from this, a policy would emerge on the whole issue of payments to managers."
The Monaghan native also cleared the way for the mooted International Rules games between Dublin and Melbourne to honour the achievements of Jim Stynes. Collingwood toyed with a similar idea a number of years ago, but the match never came to pass.
"I wouldn't have a problem, no, particularly in terms of Jimmy Stynes. I couldn't imagine any issue in principle or anything like that.
"They haven't been in contact with us yet."