Friday 28 April 2017

New GAA president-elect John Horan calls for 'organisational review' after landslide win

John Horan who was elected with 144 votes as Uachtarán-Tofa during the 2017 GAA Annual Congress at Croke Park, in Dublin. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
John Horan who was elected with 144 votes as Uachtarán-Tofa during the 2017 GAA Annual Congress at Croke Park, in Dublin. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Dublin’s John Horan will be the next president of the GAA after a landslide victory over four rivals in tonight’s Congress vote in Croke Park.

He won on the first count, polling 144 votes, ten more than the combined vote of Frank Burke (Galway) and Seán Walsh (Kerry) both on 46, Martin Skelly (Longford) on 22 and Robert Frost (Clare) on 20.

Horan (58), who completed his three-year stint as Leinster Council chairman last month, will spend the next 12 months as president-elect, prior to taking over from Aogán ó Fearghail at the 2018 Congress.

Principal at St Vincent’s secondary school in Glasnevin and a member of Na Fianna club, Horan (right) has made a rapid rise through the GAA’s administrative ranks and now becomes the first Dublin-based president since Dr JJ Stuart held the honour in 1958-’61.

He was a Clare man, which leaves Horan as the first native Dubliner to win the presidency since Daniel McCarthy in 1921.

Horan lost to Skelly by a single vote for Leinster vice-chairman in 2008 but was elected to the position three years later and took over as chairman in 2014.

It’s unusual for a candidate to progress from provincial chairman to president-elect so quickly but obviously Horan’s work over the past three years impressed delegates from well beyond Leinster.

Promising to live up to the confidence placed on him, he said last night was not a time for discussing future policy.

However, he has already given an indication of what his early priorities will be, stating last month that the GAA needed a root-and-branch analysis.

“I think we need an organisational review. We had one in 1972 with the McNamee report and one in 2002. We have had so many changes since then,” he said.

Last night’s opening session of Congress earlier heard director-general Páraic Duffy raise the possibility of introducing caps on spending on inter-county squads.

“We’ve got to ask if too much money is being spent in this area. Can it be sustained? Should it be sustained? Surely we have a responsibility to control costs and cut our cloth to suit our measure.

“It’s challenging but it’s not an issue we can run away from. We could cap expenditure on county teams but would it work or would a way around it be found?” he said.

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