Monday 9 December 2019

Dessie Farrell on . . .

The end of an era of conflict

"There is a natural evolution and what we are doing here is no different to what has been happening with players' associations across the world. Initially there was that barricade put up, the hostility, the suspicion and eventually there comes a point in time where you just move beyond that. There is younger blood coming into official positions within the GAA and it has changed that dramatically. That's not to say that with any issue that has emerged, we have always been able to sort it out or find a solution to it."

On the new threat to Government grants

"Players will not take it lying down; they are still sore and reeling after the 70pc (€3.5m to €1.01m) reduction at that particular time. I think they have to be kept, they should be at the current level. It's a dramatic reduction from where it was but it is hugely important that we keep the principle alive. When you recall the reason for it being introduced, it was State acknowledgment giving parity of esteem with other athletes."

On greater player involvement in key GAA decisions

"Gone are the days where you appoint a player in a token fashion to a committee and the fall-back line is 'well sure we had player involvement in this report or that report'. It needs to be more meaningful than that and through the GPA we can start to play a more dynamic role in that regard."

On the perception that they are no longer independent

"I think it was a hugely important issue through the interim process that our independence wasn't compromised in any way and that we're still an autonomous body. But I think also for the GAA, because the dynamic won't work if all of a sudden the GPA as we know it has been subsumed and no longer has a voice and is only a puppet to the GAA.

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"The GAA have an acute awareness of that as well. Publicly how that plays out, I don't know. Megaphone diplomacy may be gone and, while it was useful for us at a point in time for where we needed to get to, we have a forum to deal with the issues in a proper way."

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