Friday 6 December 2019

Removing rates
a great initiative

Re. your report by Damian Lawlor on the bill introduced by Fianna Fáil to remove rates from club sports facilities, Mayfield GAA club are asking all public representatives to support this bill. We don't see it as a party political issue.

For a number of years we, together with many clubs all over the country, have been calling for the removal of rates from sporting facilities such as sports halls, dressing rooms etc.

These facilities have been put there by clubs for the benefit of all, especially young people. It is a very unfair burden to ask clubs to raise money to pay rates on these facilities. Clubs, who provide these facilities, often taking out loans to do so, should not be asked to raise money to pay rates.

In many areas sports clubs are the sole providers of sports facilities for young people, removing this burden from local authorities.

The Fianna Fáil bill proposes that only the part of a club's premises for which a certificate of registration has been granted by the courts to sell alcohol should be liable to rates and this we fully endorse.

As part of its application for a certificate of registration, a club has to submit plans of the building or part of a building where alcohol is to be supplied. These provisions are contained in the Intoxicating Liquor Act 1960, Section 15. The certificate of registration does not apply to any other building or a part of a building owned by a club, usually sports facilities.

This requirement which is already provided for in the 1960 Act clarifies the premises that are to be certified and therefore liable for rates. We think this is the solution to the technical difficulties that were mentioned when the bill was being discussed in the Dáil. Inserting a clear definition of what is meant by the 'premises' of a club registered under the 1904 Registration of Clubs Act would provide clarity for everyone.

The change to the 2001 Valuation Act proposed in this bill is exactly what clubs have being lobbying for. Fundraising takes up a huge amount of energy and time in every club and having to pay rates out of scarce resources must stop if clubs are to continue with their core purpose-the provision of sports facilities, coaching and organising games .

We hope TDs and Senators of all parties and independents will give their full support to this bill. We would also urge your paper to support this initiative.

John Brennan

Chairman, Mayfield GAA Club

Kelly should be given a rest

Having followed hurling for over 50 years, I must congratulate the Clare hurlers on their great character last week. Without the full complement for most of the game they showed tremendous character and spirit.

On a different note I always thought Johnny Ryan a fair and competent referee but I was most disappointed on Sunday when he 'chickened out' after being dictated to by linesman Kelly.

Everyone will have noticed that any time Kelly is linesman he spends most of his time on the field and when refereeing never has any camaraderie with the players.

It is about time the self-elected referees' association took cognisance of this official and give him a rest for the remainder of the season.

Jack Cosgrave

Get rid of yellow cards in hurling

To stop what someone described as Mickey Mouse refereeing, I would suggest a few steps.

1. End the yellow card system. Let us not slavishly follow soccer. In hurling, the real penalty is the score which a free can bring, a score that is possible from 80 or 90 yards. You do not have that in soccer. The cards cause unnecessary stops also. It interferes with the common-sense judgement of a referee and is only playing to the gallery.

2. We need two referees in hurling. The speed of the game demands it, apart from the fact that now the ball can travel 100 yards or more. No ref can keep up with play. Vital frees are missed, like Harnedy's 11 steps last Sunday week which turned the game in Cork's favour. We owe it to players at inter-county level who put such work in to give them reasonably proper decision-making.

3. A sending-off offence should involve an aggressive stroke which is dangerous, intentional and could cause serious injury, not what commentators describe as a handbag confrontation.

A referee should also be entitled to request a team manager to replace a player guilty of repeated unnecessary aggression, black card if you like.

Seamus ó Niadh

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