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Former Galway football boss Alan Mulholland slams ‘complete unfairness’ of GAA’s coaching grants system


Former Galway football manager Alan Mulholland

Former Galway football manager Alan Mulholland

Former Galway football manager Alan Mulholland

Galway GAA could employ at least nine additional coaches if grants from Croke Park were handed out based on membership according to a prominent GAA figure in the county.

Former Galway football manager and player Alan Mulholland, who is chairman of the Salthill-Knocknacarra club has written to GAA clubs in Galway asking them to support a radical change in how Croke Park distribute their coaching and games development budget.

This subject has been a thorny issue nationally for years and is set to be debated at next year’s GAA Congress in the Connacht GAA Dome in Mayo.

In his letter, Mulholland claims Galway GAA has been treated with ‘complete unfairness’ in terms of the grants they have received from Croke Park in the last 13 years.

“In spite of this, Galway GAA due mainly the trojan efforts of all our clubs, continue to compete at the highest levels in hurling, football, ladies football and Camogie which is a tribute to the voluntary work of all our club officers,” he adds.

“But this does not take away from the unfairness of the disproportionate level of funding we have consistently received as a county.

“Our motion if passed at Annual Congress would bring about an increase in funding to our county of nearly €1.3m over the next five years which would result in our ability to employ a minimum of nine additional coaches or 20 to 25 additional coaches if done in conjunction with the clubs as has been the case in Dublin GAA and their clubs over the last decade.”

In Dublin, clubs paid half the salary of the Games Development Officers working with them.

According to Mulholland, Galway have been allocated the second worst share of total coaching grants by Croke Park based on both head of population and by the combined membership of clubs in the county.

“In the period from 2007 to 2020, the GAA have allocated €57.7m in coaching grants to counties across the country. Dublin GAA have received €20.1m (35%) of the total amount,” he states.

“Galway GAA, by stark contrast, have only received €1,309,339 or two percent of the total. As per the last census, Dublin GAA have effectively received €14.72 per head of population whilst Galway GAA have received the second lowest in the country at €5.06 per head of population.

“In reality, in this same period, based on head of population, Galway GAA should have received (if done on an equal basis based on population) €1.45m extra. And to give a further example, Cork GAA should have received €3.2m extra based on their population total as per the last census.

“Why are Cork and Galway, two of the largest population centres outside of the capital city, considered any less strategic than Dublin?.

Mulholland argues that had coaching funds been distributed equally based on GAA membership, Galway – with the third highest membership levels in the country – would have received an extra €2.1 million of funding.

“Whilst an argument could be made that this extra funding was needed in 2007 when Dublin as a location was important for the GAA, this disproportionate funding should have ended in 2011 or 10 years ago or at a minimum,” he wrote.

“We believe our motion will begin the process of addressing this unfairness.”

The Galway convention takes place on December 14 when the motion from Salthill-Knocknacarra is due to be debated.

The motion which was drawn up by a group headed by former Westmeath footballer John Connellan asks for coaching and development funding to be allocated to individual counties on an equal basis based on registered GAA members to a maximum variance of five per cent.

Earlier this year, 30 GAA clubs across 20 different counties committed to tabling the motion at their annual general meeting with a view to bringing it before county conventions and ultimately the floor of Congress next spring.

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