Sunday 15 December 2019

GAA is the real winner in local elections

Teaser for Sky's GAA coverage
Teaser for Sky's GAA coverage

Liam Fay

Before a single vote is cast, the real winner of the local and European elections is already apparent: the GAA. Last week's government announcement of a €30m grant for the regeneration of Páirc Uí Chaoimh was clearly timed for electoral benefit.

Irrespective of whether the Coalition earns a dividend at the polls, however, Croke Park chiefs can congratulate themselves on securing yet another huge pot of public money for yet another enormo-stadium. Recession schmcession.

Game well played, no doubt – but GAA management may be achieving mastery in the political and commercial arenas at an inordinately high price. Many grassroots supporters were taken aback by the disdainful arrogance displayed by some headquarters honchos during the Sky Sports controversy. Lofty speeches about using Sky to facilitate the diaspora have now been exposed as claptrap following the launch of the online streaming partnership with RTE, a much more useful service for emigrants.

€30m on another big stadium is neither a sensible nor equitable deployment of scare resources. As they savour their latest political victory, therefore, GAA bosses should beware the classic pitfall: winning the vote but losing the argument.

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