'Only difference between senators and TDs is they get paid more' - second senator complains about lack of GAA tickets
A second Fine Gael politician has complained to the GAA after she was denied tickets for Sunday's All-Ireland football final between Dublin and Mayo, the Irish Independent can reveal.
Dublin senator Catherine Noone has accused the GAA of adopting an "unfair practice" by issuing tickets directly to TDs but not to senators.
It comes after her party colleague,Michelle Mulherin, said she believed the GAA was guilty of "discrimination".
It emerged yesterday that Ms Noone also wrote to the GAA to express her annoyance at being denied tickets.
In correspondence with GAA Ard Stiúrthoir Paraic Duffy, Ms Noone said she had always been provided with tickets for All-Ireland finals.
She sought "further explanation" from Mr Duffy, and described the fact that senators were not being provided with tickets as "very unfair".
Ms Noone also said that the only difference between TDs and senators is that TDs "get paid more", and pointed out that senators were equally committed to GAA clubs in their communities.
It also emerged that other senators sought tickets from the GAA but were turned down.
They include Independent senator Lynn Ruane and Fine Gael's Neale Richmond.
"Demand is high for this final and I don't think there's any point in senators complaining," said Mr Richmond.
Ms Mulherin said she had previously received tickets and suggested that the GAA had changed its policy.
"This is clear discrimination by the GAA in relation to members of the Oireachtas," she said.
However, the GAA defended its policy, saying it does plenty for members of the Oireachtas.
"At central level, we can only make tickets available for purchase to TDs of competing counties," said Mr Duffy.
Tickets dispensed to politicians for the final are priced at around €80 each. In most cases they send a cheque to GAA headquarters in Dublin and receive two tickets a few days ahead of the game.
One senior GAA member suggested yesterday that the policy may have to be reviewed in light of the "unjust criticism" levelled at it by Fine Gael politicians.
However, former GAA president Seán Kelly rejected the complaints levelled at the association by his party colleagues.
"They can't actually please everybody. OK, they draw the line between TDs and the Senate, but that's because of lack of supply," said the MEP.
Mr Kelly added that it was impossible for the GAA to meet demand from ordinary fans for an All-Ireland final.