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GAA presidential candidate Q&A: Seán Walsh

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Seán Walsh, former chairman of Kerry County Board and Munster Council

Seán Walsh, former chairman of Kerry County Board and Munster Council

Seán Walsh, former chairman of Kerry County Board and Munster Council

Seán Walsh

County: Kerry

Club: Moyvane

Occupation: Scottish Southern Energy employee, Tarbert Powerstation

Main GAA posts: Former chairman of Kerry County Board and Munster Council

 

1. What’s the first action you would take to improve the lot of club players who are deeply frustrated by the fixtures programme?

If we want to continue to have dedicated club players then a change of current mindset is necessary, wherein a system of county championships in tandem with the inter-county series will need to be scheduled. This can only be achieved with serious dialogue between county boards and Croke Park. Putting in place a structured and monitored games programme for our club players by every county board is a major priority for me. Doing nothing is no longer an option as far as I am concerned.

2. Would you favour increasing, reducing or retaining the inter-county schedule as it is?

There are certain advantages in having an overall look at the schedule of the inter-county series, both at minor and senior level. The tightening-up of the senior inter-county schedule would be advantageous, if feasible, in allowing more time for club games at the latter end of the year. This would open up the possibility of finishing all of our club championship competitions in the one calendar year. I believe this is something we must strive for.

3. Do you support the Football Review Committee proposal to re-locate one Ulster and three Leinster first-round losers in the Connacht and Munster championships in order to have eight counties in each of the four provinces?

I have long held the belief that any changes to the championship structures will have to be found around the provincial system. In this respect, the proposal of the FRC will give the desired effect of having an equal amount of teams in the provincial championships. However, the problem will lie in finding teams of equal standard to match the teams in Ulster and Connacht.

4. Do you agree or disagree with Eddie Keher’s view that hurling would be better off without yellow or red cards?

Obviously, the opinion of somebody like Eddie Keher would be held in very high esteem within the hurling community. The current Uachtarain is in the process of establishing a committee to look at hurling. I think that the most appropriate course of action at present is to await the deliberations of this committee.

5. Do you support the continuation of the International Rules Series or should it be scrapped after this year’s tour to Australia?

The success or failure of the International Rules Series will rely heavily upon how it is managed this year. I believe that both the GAA and AFL need to commit their best players to the series. With this commitment, I could see the series having a future but if the AFL continues to play an indigenous team then I would see no future. I believe our players deserve an international outlet by playing in the series and representing their country.

6. Do you believe that illegal payments to county and club managers remain a sufficiently serious issue to require further investigation and action?

The best document I’ve seen in my time in the GAA was produced in relation to the payment of managers by the Ard Stiurthoir, Paraic Duffy. I believe that no action was taken on this document and if fortunate enough to be elected president I’d have no intention of wasting my time and that of Central Council on something that I believe would be impossible to prove. We must put our faith in the county and club officers who have been elected to run the Association within the rules.

7. The GAA is supporting the IRFU bid to host the World Rugby Cup in Ireland by making grounds available. Would you support similar cooperation with the FAI in the event of it bidding to host major soccer championships in Ireland?

The provision of GAA grounds for non-GAA activity is a matter for Central Council. If the request from the FAI for the use of our grounds for a major soccer championship in Ireland was received, I am sure that it would be considered in the same manner with which the IRFU request was dealt with. If Central Council looked favourably on the request I would not be opposed to it.

8. Given the disparity in resources, sponsorship opportunities, etc around the country, should the GAA attempt to level the playing field financially for county teams?

The strength of certain counties will give them the opportunity to raise varying levels of funding through sponsorship and other means. To ensure that we, as an Association, do not create a two-tier system in relation to the standard of teams, it is incumbent upon us as an organisation to have a funding model that will respect the strengths and weaknesses of all counties.

9. Do you favour playing senior provincial and/or All-Ireland championship games on Friday evenings?

There is certainly huge promotional value in the playing on Friday evenings. I believe that Saturdays and Sundays have now become more familyorientated days and Friday nights provide the opportunity for families to attend matches together. However, given the intensity of preparation required by players at senior level on match days, the possibility of playing championship games on Friday evenings makes it a lot more difficult for amateur players.

10. If elected, will you be a full-time president and, if so, how much will your salary ‘secondment’ cost the GAA for the three years?

Since 1984 I have been an elected administrative volunteer for the GAA. If chosen as president-elect, I will have 12 months to consider whether I will continue in a voluntary capacity or be a full-time president.

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