Tuesday 27 June 2017

Too much democracy bad for GAA - Devereux

Devereux: “If it was my call I would give more authority to the executive in Croke Park.” Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
Devereux: “If it was my call I would give more authority to the executive in Croke Park.” Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Departing Wexford County Board chairman Diarmuid Devereux has warned that too much democracy in the GAA will stall future progress.

Devereux, who completed his five-year term at last night's convention, feels the imposition of the requirement for a two-thirds majority to make change is "growing problems further down the road".

Devereux admits the failure to make "radical" advances at central level, despite the effort put in, has been the biggest disappointment of his term.

At local level the Wexford debt he inherited, €3.4m in late 2011, has come down by more than half and the county now owes just €1.3m on its training centre in Ferns, which has been completed in his term.

The slow pace of reform is something he feels has to be addressed.

"The director-general Padraic Duffy is a radical man who has tried to introduce radical reform," he said.

"We have this awful outdated system of democracy where a majority is not a majority unless it's 66.6pc. Every time we got to Congress with radical proposals which would take pressure off administrators and help players and improve structures . . . instead of taking one step forward, it's two back.

"If we don't radically reform the way we're operating I think we're going to be growing problems down the road. Everything has to be done by democracy.

"If it was my call I would give more authority to the executive in Croke Park."

Wexford won six provincial titles, including three in a row at U-21 level during Devereux's tenure, and he believes the groundwork is being done for future success, saying: "We are getting very close to getting into the striking zone to compete with the big teams."

Wexford County Board has been operating a surplus since he took over and the development at Ferns, he believes, will be the "making of the county".

A €70,000 rise in gate receipts plus a reduction in the running costs of inter-county teams from €806,000 to €696,000 has left them in a much stronger financial position.

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