Saturday 21 April 2018

'Vulgar consideration' of finance can never be avoided

Páraic Duffy. Photo: Brendan Moran / Sportsfile
Páraic Duffy. Photo: Brendan Moran / Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

The loss of the 2023 Rugby World Cup to the island of Ireland and the opportunity for a number of GAA grounds to be upgraded will intensify the pressure on GAA finances to improve infrastructure, GAA director-general Páraic Duffy has warned.

Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney and Pearse Stadium in Galway were among those that could have benefited significantly but the decision to go to France places fresh focus on revenue-raising to improve GAA stadia.

"We can never escape the constant pressure in the area of finances. The purists like to ignore such vulgar considerations (convinced, for example, that the GAA has piles of money to throw around, or that, for example, it should not try to get a fair price for its broadcast rights). But the GAA has to meet the financial challenge of, among other things, improving provincial, county and club grounds and facilities."

The challenge, he points out, is "to find the funds to keep our stadiums and grounds infrastructure in a modern and attractive condition, an essential requirement in the marketing of our games as we seek to increase match-attendance levels, to encourage people to attend matches and not simply watch them on television."

Elsewhere, Duffy chooses to defend Dublin's right to remain undivided as a county, devoting a section to articulate why there should be no split despite no obvious clamour, with the odd exception, for such a measure to be implemented.

"One is led to wonder if the 'divide Dublin' proponents have given any thought to what the GAA would lose if Dublin were to be split. Have they given any thought to what Dubliners would lose?

"And is the sight of Dublin supporters on Hill 16 not one of the great spectacles in Irish sport?.

"One of the reasons why Dublin footballers generate support is that it gives Dubliners a unique opportunity to celebrate their proud Dublin identity."

Irish Independent

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