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Farrell welcomes grant retention

The grants to inter-county GAA players are secure for another year at least, it emerged yesterday.

But another 5pc is expected to be shaved off the €1m when agreement for 2011 on funding is reached with the Irish Sports Council (ISC) later in the year.

The GPA understands that the grant has, once again, been agreed in principle and informed their players to that effect last week.

The ISC says work has yet to be completed, however, before full agreement is reached.

GPA chief executive Dessie Farrell welcomed the news in a statement released yesterday.

"I would like to thank Minister Mary Hanafin, her department officials and the Sports Council for their continuing support of the scheme.

"I would also like to welcome Fine Gael's public backing for the continuation of the scheme, which is very reassuring for our members.

"It is important to reiterate that government funding for players is critical on two levels, in that it affords an official status to inter-county hurlers and footballers, while also assisting them with their commitment to the games.

"We have always argued that it is hugely important for the contribution made by our players to the cultural and sporting fabric of the country to be recognised in a practical way."

The grants are performance related for teams, with players involved in the latter stages of championship receiving more.

Former Mayo manager John O'Mahony, whose Fine Gael party are most likely to lead to the next Government, has been highly vocal on the issue over the last couple of years as support for the grants appeared to waver.

Irish Independent