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Equalised funding means 'anti-Dub prejudice', claims Dublin CEO

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John Costello, Chief Executive, Dublin County Board

John Costello, Chief Executive, Dublin County Board

John Costello, Chief Executive, Dublin County Board

DUBLIN county board's top full-time officer has launched a scathing broadside against the push for financial equalisation in the GAA, claiming it amounts to "anti-Dublin prejudice".

Against a backdrop of recent moves to reduce Dublin's central funding, John Costello has stepped up the capital's campaign of resistance, insisting that any moves to bolster smaller counties should not come at the expense of Dublin.

"Let me set the record straight: the Dublin county committee has no issue with Croke Park offering additional financial support to help so-called weaker counties in their quest to keep pace with the stronger units," Costello writes in his annual report to convention. "But let me be equally blunt: this should not come at a direct monetary cost to Dublin."

He then quotes Dublin chairman Andy Kettle's response, last August, when word first emerged of proposals to reduce their funding from central coffers. "If we don't continue to do what we're doing and go backwards, you have the possibility of an area with a fifth of the population of the country becoming a wasteland for GAA," Kettle told The Herald at the time.

As Costello reiterates in his secretary's report, Dublin have "absolutely no problem" in increased funding for other counties and recently spoke strongly in favour of an initiative for weaker counties, whereby strength and conditioning, dieticians and various other auxiliary team supports would be funded by Croke Park.

But he goes on to write: "It can be galling to hear some prominent GAA people decry the growth of this Dublin 'dynasty' while insisting that our capital's flagship football team should be divided in two (why stop there, you could hang, draw and quarter us?) and that all central funding of GAA activity in the capital must cease forthwith because of our allegedly endless sponsorship booty.

DECRYING

"Remember, it's not so long ago since equally prominent GAA people were decrying the absence of any football or hurling presence in large tracts of the city.

"A concerted, focussed effort was launched to rectify this," he recalls. "Now, when Dublin gets its house in order and success starts to flow, most notably at U21 and senior football level, the inference is that we should stop doing the right things or even be handicapped from doing so.

"During the summer on several occasions, turning on sports programmes on the radio and scanning the sports pages of several papers, it was like a national focus group had been formed in order to, as it was termed on radio, 'halt the Dublin juggernaut'. All sorts of measures to hamstring Dublin were suggested with contributors just stopping short of suggesting the 'King Herod Solution' which would put a cap on the number of young males allowed in any household!" Costello concludes.

Talk of the Dublin dynasty to which Costello refers was at its loudest in the run-up to the senior footballers' All-Ireland semi-final against Donegal.

The Dublin CEO doesn't delve too deeply into that shock defeat, except to acknowledge: "It was a game of 'ifs' and 'buts' - what if we had taken one or both of our goal-scoring opportunities in that early period of dominance?

"But there is little to be gained by dwelling on it. Suffice to say, there are lessons to be learnt and we will enter 2015 optimistic that we will again be among the front-runners in the race for Sam."

On the senior hurling front, he pays special tribute to departing boss Anthony Daly, hailing his loyalty, expertise and charisma as "key factors in Dublin's ascension up the rankings."


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