Saturday 15 December 2018

Opportunity lost with three-year plan

Director-general of the GAA Tom Ryan. Photo: Sportsfile
Director-general of the GAA Tom Ryan. Photo: Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Since its publication last Friday wasn't accompanied by a formal launch and happened just before one of the busiest championship weekends of the season, the GAA's 2018-2021 strategic plan has not attracted much attention.

In fairness, there isn't much to be attentive about, as it has no major headline-grabbers.

In many ways, it's a continuation of the plans of the last decade, with targets including continued progress on club v county interaction, a review of the All-Ireland championships and an examination of the impact the growing population shift from rural to urban is having.

Those - and the various other plans - are all laudable in their own way but it's hardly enough. It's 16 years since the major Strategic Review report was published and while it had its faults, at least there was a feeling that a forensic analysis had been undertaken.

There's no such sense with this one, which will pass without even being noticed by the majority of the GAA membership.

It took six months to complete but of course that was a period which saw a complete change at the helm in Croke Park, with Tom Ryan replacing Páraic Duffy as director-general and John Horan taking over as president from Aogán ó Fearghail.

Ryan only joined the committee when he took over as DG in April.

Three-year plans are fine but there's need for a much longer vision too

What should the GAA look like in 2028? A three-year plan now, or indeed in 2021, offers nothing on that front so surely there should be a far-reaching strategy too. The 2034 committee, set up by Aogán ó Fearghail during his term, was tasked with providing a vision for the GAA on its 150th birthday but, for some reason, their report was never published. It's still not too late.

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