John Horan, today became the first ever GAA President to address Seanad Éireann on a number of issues currently facing the Association.
The big talking point to come out of his speech was his call for the GAA to build stronger ties with the Ladies Gaelic Football and Camogie Associations.
Both the LGFA and Camogie Association currently operate under a separate banner, with Horan today announcing that a motion to add the CEOs of the Ladies Gaelic Football Association and the Camogie Association to the GAA’s Management Committee will go to the floor at next month’s Annual Congress.
“This is another symbol of the close ties that already exist and I look forward to seeing them strengthen in the months and years ahead,” said the Dublin native.
“The One Club Model, where all of our games are organised under the same umbrella, makes sense and strengthens the reach and appeal of Gaelic games as sports for all.
“I would hope also that any such moves in this direction would also see an increase in women entering the administrative side of the GAA.
“With closer ties and collaboration I would dearly love to see that slipstream of recruitment widened to include more women meaning enhanced representation of women on our committees and organising bodies across the wide range of portfolios that need to be filled to power the organisation.
“I hope the next GAA President afforded the privilege extended to me today will be able to describe real and meaningful change in this area in the years and perhaps that ‘he’ will be a ‘she’.”
Earlier this month, we sat down for an exclusive chat with Waterford Camogie captain, Niamh Rockett who outlined her fears that if Camogie failed to come under the same banner as Hurling, then the sport itself runs the risk of dying out.
“Going under the hurling branch is one thing that we need to get forward and push through. We can give out about referees and standards but until we’re under the same bracket we’re not going to make the massive strides we need to.” Rockett told Pundit Arena.
“It’s not the Camogie Association’s fault either, there needs to be a bigger push and we all need to row in behind it and if we don’t and things stay the way they are we may not have any camogie in 20 years time, and that is a scary prospect.”
Meanwhile, Horan also used his platform today to highlight that the GAA cannot be blamed over declining numbers in rural areas as they are not the ones ‘closing post offices’.
“I don’t want to sound political but I am going to be very honest, that’s my style. The GAA are helping with rural decline. We are not causing it.” Horan said.
“We are not the ones that are closing post offices. We are not the ones that are not delivering the internet to local rural areas. But it is our members in those areas that are finding it necessary to leave their local communities, move to the east coast or go to foreign shores. They are the problems that need to be solved. We will be there. We will provide the facilities and we will provide the network but we ultimately cannot be held responsible for rural decline.”