Minister urged to save historic birthplace of GAA
Politicians have put aside their party rivalries in a bid to preserve the hotel where association was founded in 1884
A UNIQUE cross-party alliance of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour is urging the GAA and the Heritage Minister to save Hayes Hotel, the iconic birthplace of the GAA, as a national heritage site.
The hotel has recently gone into receivership and concerns are growing over whether the unique character of the hotel can be preserved.
The matter was originally raised by the Labour Senator Denis Landy in the Seanad last week.
He slammed "the failure of the top brass of the GAA to respond to the deteriorating state of its spiritual home".
Responding to the concerns of Mr Landy, Sports Minister Michael Ring told the Sunday Independent he would be "immediately contacting my colleague, Heritage Minister Jimmy Deenihan, to ask that he secure the heritage status of this signature site".
Fianna Fail leader Michael Martin has urged "the association (GAA) and others to work together to preserve the birthplace not only of the GAA, but, in a real sense, one of the spawning grounds of the Republic that we will celebrate in 2016''.
The Gaelic Athletic Association was founded by Michael Cusack and Maurice Davin in Hayes Hotel in Liberty Square, Thurles, in 1884.
In the Seanad last week, Mr Landy warned that in the wake of the hotel being put into receivership, local figures were deeply concerned that "it is being run into the ground. Staff are being let go and no bookings are being taken in the hotel."
He told the Sunday Independent that he had since been contacted by members of the diaspora across America, Dubai, Saudi Arabia and Canada, expressing their concerns.
The senator said: "It would be shameful if we allowed this birthplace to deteriorate or close. Closing Hayes Hotel would be like closing Wembley or Lords.
"It is the birthplace of the GAA and in many regards also the birthplace of the Republic. The rise of the GAA and 1916 evolved hand in hand."
Mr Landy added: "This hotel is more than just bricks and mortar. It represents the beginning of a part of our culture that defines us as a nation more than any other.
"It binds people throughout the country together."