independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

No GAA bailout of grants scheme

THE GAA will not be delving into its coffers to make up any shortfall in the State's grants scheme to players, according to president Liam O'Neill.

The scheme, which is worth €1m to players, is facing another cut when the sports funding is announced next week, but the Laois man insisted there would be no deviation from the original 2008 deal, which stated the Association would not be asked to contribute.

"That's dealt with," said O'Neill. "In the original agreement, it was dealt with and that's where it is."

The GPA have requested a meeting with Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring, who last week hinted that while the grants scheme would face a cut, it could also be guaranteed for a further three years.

However, having commissioned a report that found inter-county Gaelic games produce an estimated €200m for the exchequer, the players' body will resist any cut not in line with other organisations.

"It's a pity that sport is being targeted," said O'Neill. "It was off the agenda for a number of years and I don't welcome it back on the agenda."

O'Neill also said he hoped to have the league fixtures finalised "as soon as possible".

"It's just seeing can we maximise the use of Croke Park to showcase our games to the benefit of the Dublin supporters and possibly the Kildare supporters and those who will be coming to play both counties," he said.

O'Neill was speaking at the launch of the 10th annual Games Development Conference, which takes place on Saturday, January 20. Tickets are €50 and more information is available from www.gaa.ie.

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