Friday 20 October 2017

Overseas and over-represented...

Overseas units have 73 votes at Congress, compared with 30 for all the Connacht counties, 47 in Munster, 49 in Ulster and 72 in Leinster. Stock image: Sportsfile
Overseas units have 73 votes at Congress, compared with 30 for all the Connacht counties, 47 in Munster, 49 in Ulster and 72 in Leinster. Stock image: Sportsfile
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Whatever the wisdom or otherwise of Congress decisions in this, or any other year, legitimate questions arise over the representation quotas.

It will probably come as a surprise to many people to learn that over a quarter of delegates are based overseas.

Now, before my email inbox floods with outrage from GAA members around the world, it's rightly acknowledged that they are doing fantastic work in not only promoting football and hurling but also in providing an invaluable network for Irish people overseas.

They deserve lots of practical support from Croke Park but that's altogether different from giving them a disproportionate input into Congress decisions which, in the main, deal with matters back home.

Overseas units have 73 votes at Congress, compared with 30 for all the Connacht counties, 47 in Munster, 49 in Ulster and 72 in Leinster.

Drill down further and the anomaly becomes ever starker. England and Scotland-based have more delegates (31) than Connacht.

Australia (six) have more delegates than several counties, including Cavan, Derry, Donegal, Fermanagh, Monaghan, Carlow, Kilkenny, Longford, Louth, Offaly, Wicklow, Leitrim, Roscommon, Sligo (five each). New York also has five while Europe, Asia and the Middle East have 16 between them.

And surely it's imbalanced that the US GAA, away from New York, has more votes (11) than Dublin (10), Galway (9), Tipperary, Kerry and Limerick (8 each).

Representation per county is based on club numbers, subject to a maximum of 10 and a minimum of four (excluding Central Council members) delegates. It's all very democratic, in theory at least, but there's still something questionable about having so much influence vested overseas where the issues are very different.

Irish Independent

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