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Oisín McConville fumes over the lack of transparency at the GAA Special Congress

Oisín McConville GAA Congress

Oisín McConville has argued that if voting at the recent GAA Special Congress was transparent the results would have been “dramatically” different.

Proposal B, which would have seen a league format implemented in the All-Ireland Football Championship, was defeated as it won the support of 50.6 per cent of delegates, well short of the 60 per cent that was required.

Many had predicted that the vote would go right down to the wire, but the status quo was ultimately never truly in trouble, although GAA president Larry McCarthy has said that he expects the issue to be revisited very quickly.

Former Armagh footballer McConville was speaking on the BBC’s GAA Social podcast and argued that voting should be transparent in the future so delegates don’t say one thing publicly but vote differently in private.

Oisín McConville on voting at the GAA Special Congress.

“Absolutely, they should be transparent. I can tell you this – things would change dramatically. You leave a county board meeting, and you’re told to vote one way, and you go down there and vote in a different way. Where’s the trust?” McConville questioned.

“You won’t believe the pressure that’s put on in certain areas to vote in certain ways when it comes to congress – whether that be for the presidency or something like today. Delegates change their mind over that weekend.

“If they leave a county board meeting on a Thursday night, and they’re heading to congress on a Saturday, they should vote the way that they said they would vote, the way it was expressed that they should vote. That is not happening. If that had happened today, I think we would have been very close to 60 per cent.

“It brings me back to the interview that Jarlath Burns did after he didn’t get the [GAA] presidency. He said, ‘I want to thank all those that voted for me, and I hold no ill will for those who said they’d vote for me, and didn’t’. That tells you all you need to know.”

The proposal had 80 per cent of support from players.

While Proposal B received just over 50 per cent of support from the delegates at the GAA Special Congress, it had the support of 80 per cent of inter-county players, according to the Gaelic Players Association.

GAA president McCarthy, director general Tom Ryan and former president John Horan had all expressed their preference for Proposal B to pass, but their support was ultimately unsuccessful in convincing those on the fence.

While the championship will feature one major change next year in the shape of the second-tier tournament, known as the Tailteann Cup, many feel as though an opportunity has been wasted.

Many opponents of Proposal B have said that they want change but felt that there were major flaws in the proposal that needed to be addressed, which indicates that changes to the championship may not be far off.

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