Sunday 15 December 2019

Griffin: You'd have to worry if we rejected transparency

'I'm still in the same place as I always was as a volunteer and the guys around me, I have to be quite honest and say I don’t think I have ever sat with a better bunch' – Liam Griffin. Photo: Sportsfile
'I'm still in the same place as I always was as a volunteer and the guys around me, I have to be quite honest and say I don’t think I have ever sat with a better bunch' – Liam Griffin. Photo: Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

One of the Club Players' Association's pillar members Liam Griffin has said it will be "almost beyond belief" if a motion seeking traceability for all Congress votes is rejected this weekend.

St Mary's Rosslare from Wexford are sponsoring the motion and Griffin will be on the Wexford delegation bound for Croke Park later today where he will speak in its favour.

But with the list of counties who intend to vote against it stacking up Griffin said the idea that delegates would not want the evidence to be shared as to how they voted on behalf of their county was a "worry".

Some delegates at a County Board meeting in Cork this week, where they have taken a position to oppose it, raised the issue of trust in relation to the motion.


But Griffin is adamant that is not the issue at stake. "There is nobody question anyone's bona fides. But we're looking for traceability so we can all hold our hands up. Is that not the honourable and honest thing to do?" he asked.

"If we consider it carefully, you would worry that we would vote against transparency. I think that's semi-unprecedented. That certainly wouldn't happen in any walk of life that I've been involved in GAA. It would be surprising if that would happen overall.

"We think it's beyond belief that it would be voted down. You would have to ask, why would we vote it down? Hopefully people will see the merits of it.

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"The problem is that we have tried everything through the democratic process as we were told," he said. "Our request was simple at the start. This is a side issue but it's symptomatic of what's happening."

Griffin claimed there was a comment passed at one meeting where their motion was considered where it was said that 'we know who they are' and this has particularly irked him.

"I don't know what that implies but all I know is that I am not the enemy of the GAA and I am quite satisfied that if anyone wanted to they wouldn't find a single part of my time or anywhere else that I'm the enemy of the association.

"I'm still in the same place as I always was as a volunteer and the guys around me, I have to be quite honest and say I don't think I have ever sat with a better bunch. I have sat with good groups in the GAA all my life," he said of his CPA colleagues.

The irony is that as county delegations move to protect the existing delegate system on one front, a prominent unit of the GAA is seeking a different set of changes to the delegate framework.

Also up for debate and vote is a Leinster Council motion where a chairman, secretary or treasurer of a club or county could only represent that unit on a higher body (County Board, Provincial Council, Central Council), ending the tenure of the dedicated County Board and Central Council delegate system.

The CPA attempted to flush nine motions through the convention system but only two have made it this far. Griffin said they were advised to go the "democratic route" on the back of meetings they had with Croke Park and the Central Competition Controls Committee (CCCC).

Griffin said some of the motions they put forward came from those discussions where "blockages" were pointed out to them.

"We met the CCCC about the blockages that they had at that unofficial meeting and we then made notes of that and tried to undo all that through the democratic system," he pointed out.

He acknowledged they could be beaten on those motions but found it ironic which we "these are the motions that we were told were the blockages".

"All we ever asked was to go into a room with people with like minds and could we do our homework and bring our suggestions to the table.

"I am satisfied that plan 'green' (a CPA proposal to revamp the calendar) is worthy of a discussion document. It's more worthy of a discussion than the current system and I am saying is there anybody can put their hand up and say, 'I give the current system beyond four or five out of 10'. Could they possibly do that?


"I'm in a different walk of life where I encourage people to come up with ideas. If you go away and work on good ideas and when you come into me, what have I got to lose by listening to that. Is there a better way?" he asked of the current system.

"No matter who we are, we are not on the better path at the moment. It just needs to be tweaked. That doesn't mean that we are not in favour of a lot of things, of course we are. But it just needs to be tweaked.

"Let's make sure we all know what we are voting for. That doesn't mean that Board delegates can't say to each other, 'Well, there's a particular topic that we would like to hold fire on'."

While the CPA still find themselves on the outside of Congress their inter-county counterparts, the Gaelic Players Association (GPA), have doubled their voting power and will be using that to support the CPA motion, interim chief executive Seamus Hickey has confirmed.

Irish Independent

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