Government funding and Rule 42

Interesting analysis from Colm Keys on the

  • willowfield

    If the GAA is as successful as it boasts – massive crowds, professional organization, massive membership – and given that it is amateur (no costs for players’ wages), why does it need to receive so much government money?

  • Billy Pilgrim

  • Davros

    “The fact that the GAA has been able to find

  • willowfield

    Fair enough point about Croke Park, but the GAA squeezes money out of both governments constantly. Why can’t they pay for these other things themselves?

    (When the state consistently fails to provide any kind of national sports policy, the volunteer network that is the GAA provides. When rural communities need a focal point, the GAA provides. When youngsters need positive role models the GAA provides. It’s the ultimate example of communal self help. Socialists and tories alike find it an inspiration. What an organisation.)

    Pity this wonderful organisation excludes 20% of the people.

  • willowfield

    Fair enough point about Croke Park, but the GAA squeezes money out of both governments constantly. Why can’t they pay for these other things themselves?

    (When the state consistently fails to provide any kind of national sports policy, the volunteer network that is the GAA provides. When rural communities need a focal point, the GAA provides. When youngsters need positive role models the GAA provides. It’s the ultimate example of communal self help. Socialists and tories alike find it an inspiration. What an organisation.)

    Pity this wonderful organisation excludes 20% of the people.

  • maca

    “Why can’t they pay for these other things themselves?”

    They do. There’s a lot of expenses with 2500+ clubs and tens of thousands of players.
    And surely any organisation would try to get as much money as it can?? Can you fault them for that?

    “20%”
    Where did you get that figure?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    “Pity this wonderful organisation excludes 20% of the people.”

    Factually incorrect and again a descent into MOPEry.

  • Davros

    Colm T

  • Davros

    whoops- misquote!

    Colm T

  • maca

    1987 Davros. Rule 21 is no more πŸ˜‰

  • Davros

    I Know Maca , but it’s still viewed as a cold house for unionists πŸ˜‰

    Irish News 9th March 2004 : ‘Foreigners on border’ jibe – GAA man ‘sorry

  • maca

    I know what you mean Davros.
    Having said that, I have heard that many unionists from Donegal have involvement with the GAA. How true that is I don’t know.

  • willowfield

    maca

    They do.

    They can’t do. Otherwise they wouldn’t be creaming so much money from the two governments.

    There’s a lot of expenses with 2500+ clubs and tens of thousands of players.

    But supposedly the monster crowds, massive advertising revenue, TV money, etc., should easily pay for that, especially since they have no salary costs.

    And surely any organisation would try to get as much money as it can?? Can you fault them for that?

    Of course I don’t fault them. I’m querying why the governments are pouring money into a successful business instead of, say, funding school sports.

    Where did you get that figure?

    Very rough. Say 15% then?

    Pat McLarnon

    Factually incorrect and again a descent into MOPEry.

    I’ve just reduced the figure to 15%. “Again a descent into MOPEry”? MOPEry is a paradoy of Irish nationalists and their wild claims about discrimination and “oppression”. I’m not a nationalist and I don’t make such claims.

  • Davros

    The way things are going in the ROI with immigration
    your 20% might not be so wrong in the future πŸ˜‰

  • Henry94

    Billy Pilgrim

    I agree with you. The GAA is the greatest organisation on the island and it should continue to play a leadership role in the development of the nation. At this point in time the national interest is best served by the elimination of any hint of discrimination or insularity.

    I don’t believe the GAA set out to exclude unionists but that is not enough. It must set out to include them. That will be a long process but opening up Croke Park to Rugby (and soccer) would be a first step.

    At local level I would like to see attempts made to get youngsters from all backgrounds playing the games and supporting the teams.

  • willowfield

    Well said, Henry94.

    It’s a pity there’s no-one with such vision within the GAA itself.

  • willowfield

    Of course, the GAA will have to shed itself of its political baggage if any outreach work is to have anything other than marginal success.

  • Davros

    Good post Henry, but I would disagree with one part

    “I don’t believe the GAA set out to exclude unionists”

    If you change that from unionists to protestants I’ll agree.

  • Davros

    “At local level I would like to see attempts made to get youngsters from all backgrounds playing the games and supporting the teams.”

    Another advantage of Integrating our schools Henry.
    It would facilitate learning Irish and sharing sports.

  • willowfield

    Good point, Davros. At integrated schools, kids from unionist backgrounds would have the opportunity to play Gaelic games and learn the Gaelic language. Kids from nationalist backgrounds would have the opportunity to play rugby and cricket … and not learn the Gaelic language.

  • Davros

    How do people feel about “diluting” the cultural ethos of the children from the respective communities ?

    In a nutshell … would people rather we were all “a little gaelic and a little other” or would they rather that some were more strongly gaelic and others not at all gaelic ?

    I think there is a decreasing resistance to gaeldom in my community – but is there a willingness to accept the price of a broader acceptance of Gaeldom – a dilution of the Gaelic ethos in the nationalist community ?

  • maca

    “They can’t do. Otherwise they wouldn’t be creaming so much money from the two governments.”

    Of course they would, they’ll take what they can get obviously.

    “But supposedly the monster crowds, massive advertising revenue, TV money, etc., should easily pay for that, especially since they have no salary costs.”

    Monster crowds? At only a small number of games per year.

    Henry
    “It must set out to include them.”

    Certainly, but considering some of the things which have been done to GAA premises and members over the years by loyalists and security forces amongst others steps need to be taken by BOTH sides.

    “That will be a long process but opening up Croke Park to Rugby (and soccer) would be a first step.”

    I’m not convinced on the relevance of this to be honest. So we let the soccer team play there a few times per year, how exactly will that help?

  • Gerry O’Sullivan

    Opening Croke Park to soccer and rugby is a win-win situation all round for the GAA. For a start, it brings in income in the form of rent, money that can be used to develop the game at local level. Secondly, it shows this magnificent stadium to an international audience.

    Not opening up Croke Park will show that the GAA is still carrying a serious chip on its shoulder. Given that it is by far the most successful sporting organisation in Ireland, those days should be over.

    Mind you, as a Mayoman, the subject of Croke Park has been a touchy one for me in the last week…

  • maca

    “Not opening up Croke Park will show that the GAA is still carrying a serious chip on its shoulder”

    Can you explain further Gerry?
    Surely the problem lies with the FAI and the way they approached the subject?

  • Gerry O’Sullivan

    Maca

    Surely the problem lies with the FAI and the way they approached the subject?

    I think it’s fair to say that the FAI was hung out to dry by the Government. They were given assurances by the Govt with relation to the Bertie Bowl, and cancelled their own plans for Eircom Park. When the Bertie Bowl was finally dropped, the FAI found itself back at square one – no permanent home, and tenant in a ramshackle Lansdowne Road.

    There are a good few business heads in the GAA who see that keeping Croker locked up is not a good idea. However, there are also those who would be prepared to see Ireland suffer the indignity of having to play soccer and rugby internationals abroad while a wind whistles through an empty 82,000 seater stadium in Dublin.

    I fully understand that there are people in the GAA who are ideologically opposed to soccer and rugby in Croke Park, for whatever reason. However, IMHO, these people are not looking at the broader picture. If they prevail again, and we have to look abroad for venues for our home soccer internationals while Lansdowne is being redeveloped, it will reflect very poorly on Ireland in general and the GAA in particular.

  • maca

    Gerry.
    I see what you’re saying Gerry and I agree with a lot of it. But personally I think the GAA gets a lot of undeserved criticism over this. At the end of the day it’s the FAI who were never organised enough to sort themselves a proper stadium.
    Of course the GAA has had many advantages over the years, great volunteers and lots of support from the community and the government, but look at what they have managed to build … one of the best stadiums in these islands if not in Europe as well as plenty of other great grounds around the country, and the sports blossoming abroad.
    But what have the FAI to show for all their years in business? Shag all.

    I do think the GAA should open their grounds (as long as the rugby/soccer games don’t conflict with GAA games) but I think most of the blame for the FAI’s predicament lies with the FAI & the government.

  • Gerry O’Sullivan

    Maca

    If you look closely at it, we really only need one big stadium in Ireland. GAA – the only time that Croker fills completely is on All-Ireland Sundays. Even for the semis, you will usually see a good few empty seats. Soccer – about ten home internationals per year, between competitive fixtures and friendlies. Rugby – two or three Six Nations games depending on the year, plus the Autumn series and the odd friendly. Heineken Cup final once every few years.

    That’s just about enough to make a stadium viable. Croke Park is already built, and the Irish taxpayer has paid for a good chunk of it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not GAA-bashing. They have a magnificent asset in Croke Park, and I would love if they would share it with the nation

    OK, that’s enough for one night. I’m off to me leaba.

  • maca

    I agree with you in general Gerry, I just wouldn’t be to quick to just to the aid of the FAI … unless they grovel a bit πŸ˜‰
    Leaba … good plan.

  • Davros

    Leaba = Bed ? Or pub ? πŸ˜‰

  • maca

    “jump to the aid” that should have been.

    Bed, Davros, although the pub might have been better choice πŸ˜‰

  • willowfield

    Re. Rule 42, these GAA officials would need to move on. It’s not the 1920s anymore. They make themselves a laughing stock, and the whole of Ireland will be a laughing stock if the rugby team, and the Republic’s football team, end up having to play home games in the UK.

  • maca

    Another bout of GAA bashing Willow?
    It’s not the GAA’s responsibility to ensure that the FAI have a pitch to play on (the IRFU should play up North).

  • willowfield

    It’s the GAA’s responsibility to move past the 1920s and ditch its xenophobic ban that brings shame and ridiculue upon Ireland and, in particular, the Republic of Ireland.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    You’re right Maca, but it would be incredibly embarrassing, you’d have to admit. For the sake of defending the country’s honour, the GAA should step in and shoulder the burden for the weaker organisations.

    (It’s all a bit like Pride and Prejudice, where Mr D’arcy (GAA) steps in to save the weak and feckless Lydia Bennett (soccer and rugby), not because he has to or because he owes her anything – but just because he’s so swoonsomely heroic and all that, and his shoulders are broad enough to carry those who haven’t the maturity to look after themselves. And because he doesn’t want her weaknesses to bring disgrace on the whole family (Ireland)).

  • willowfield

    As well as saving Ireland from shame and ridicule, another reason for ditching the xenophobic ban: it’s wrong to have xenophobic bans.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    “It’s the GAA’s responsibility to move past the 1920s and ditch its xenophobic ban that brings shame and ridiculue upon Ireland and, in particular, the Republic of Ireland.”

    It’s not really WF. There aren’t many who believe the GAA brings “shame and ridicule” on itself, let alone on the country. If the GAA doesn’t open Croke Park and rugby and soccer has to be played elsewhere, it will bring shame and ridicule on Ireland, but it won’t be the GAA that has done so. Perhaps you might argue that its passivity allowed it to happen unnecessarily, but the real agency of the shame and ridicule would unquestionable lie elsewhere.

    Seriously though, let’s try and take this debate somewhere new: do you think the GAA is more bad than good, or more good than bad?

    Is there anything in the GAA that you admire?

    (I’m not trying to set you up or anything here: it just seems like we have had the circular GAA argument about a million times, and I have never seen any evidence of fair play in your approach to the association. But maybe I have you wrong?)

  • Billy Pilgrim

    WF.

    You concede of course that a great majority of people worldwide who actually have an opinion on the GAA would deny that rule 42 was, as you say, xenophobic?

    I know how you feel about it – I guess you know my feelings too – but you concede at least that its `xenophobic’ nature is strongly contested?

    That being the case, then all you have provided in assertion. You’ll have to do more legwork before the allegation of xenophobia can fly.

  • maca

    WF:
    “It’s the GAA’s responsibility to move past the 1920s and ditch its xenophobic ban that brings shame and ridiculue upon Ireland and, in particular, the Republic of Ireland.”

    It doesn’t bring any shame or ridicule on Ireland.
    Have your little digs Willowfield if it makes you happy.

    Billy:
    “but it would be incredibly embarrassing, you’d have to admit. For the sake of defending the country’s honour, the GAA should step in and shoulder the burden for the weaker organisations.”

    I certainly agree. But half of this discussion is just simple GAA bashing, blaming them for the FAI/IRFu’s woes. At the end of the day if the FAI don’t have a stadium it’s their own fault.
    But I do agree, the GAA should step in and let the FAI play there.
    The IRFU: what about Windsor? Send a few games North for a change.

    “But maybe I have you wrong?”
    No, I agree with you. The arguments have never been fair to the GAA.

  • willowfield

    maca

    It doesn’t bring any shame or ridicule on Ireland.

    You obviously didn’t happen to visit Scotland during the time of the farcical joint bid for Euro 2008!!

    The IRFU: what about Windsor? Send a few games North for a change.

    Ah, but that would mean they’d have to play God Save the Queen and fly the Union Flag. Dear, dear, couldn’t have that!

  • maca

    “Ah, but that would mean they’d have to play God Save the Queen and fly the Union Flag. Dear, dear, couldn’t have that!”

    Well if ye don’t want any games North of the border that’s fine. We have Tolka park and a number of other places as back-up.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Actually WF, as no doubt you are aware, the Irish team used to play frequently at Ravenhill, until the early 50s I believe – maybe even later? In fact I believe we won our one and only Grand Slam by beating Wales at Ravenhill? (I think so, could be wrong.

    And they did so standing for GSTQ and under the union jack. So when you say: “couldn’t have that”, you’re alluding to the impossibility of something for which there is actually a precedent. Which makes you look a bit silly.

    I don’t think anyone would consider playing in Belfast to be unacceptable but playing in Liverpool or Glasgow to be okey dokey.

    Wouldn’t you like to see a six nations game in Belfast Willow?

    And have you thought of anything positive to say about the GAA yet?

  • maca

    I’d like to see a few games sent up North, it’s about time after all and there are many decidated fans in the 6 counties.
    I’d have no problem with the Union Flag or GSTQ. I just hope people there would have no problem with AnabhF or the Tricolour if they were required.

  • willowfield

    Billy Pilgrim

    And they did so standing for GSTQ and under the union jack. So when you say: “couldn’t have that”, you’re alluding to the impossibility of something for which there is actually a precedent. Which makes you look a bit silly.

    I’ll let you into a shameful little secret: the reason the IRFU stopped playing matches at Ravenhill was because Southern Irish players threatened to strike if they had to play under the Union Flag or God Save the Queen. The IRFU promptly decided that all matches thereafter would be in Dublin.

    Maybe I don’t look so silly after all?

    Wouldn’t you like to see a six nations game in Belfast Willow?

    Of course, but I fear the IRFU wouldn’t.

  • maca

    Great opportunity now to change things. Hopefully they will.

  • Davros

    Billy – I made the point earlier when it was pointed out that “Foreign games” is a construct and that the objection is more properly to “Garrison Games” that the GAA HAS allowed garrison games . They don’t come any more Garrison that Polo!

    Secondly and entirely seriously, I posted the below and would be interested in the thoughts of reasonable nationalists such as Yourself, Maca, Henry, Gerry and anybody else.

    “How do people feel about “diluting” the cultural ethos of the children from the respective communities ?

    In a nutshell … would people rather we were all “a little gaelic and a little other” or would they rather that some were more strongly gaelic and others not at all gaelic ?

    I think there is a decreasing resistance to gaeldom in my community – but is there a willingness to accept the price of a broader acceptance of Gaeldom – a dilution of the Gaelic ethos in the nationalist community ? “

  • Billy Pilgrim

    “I’ll let you into a shameful little secret: the reason the IRFU stopped playing matches at Ravenhill was because Southern Irish players threatened to strike if they had to play under the Union Flag or God Save the Queen. The IRFU promptly decided that all matches thereafter would be in Dublin.”

    Now, don’t take this the wrong way Willow, but I’m loath to take your word for this. You may be correct, but I’d like some evidence, if you can provide it. Not saying you’re wrong or making it up, but please, go on.

    Davros.

    Interesting question indeed but alas I gotta go. Will try to think of something interesting to contribute tomorrow.

  • maca

    Davros:
    “”How do people feel about “diluting” the cultural ethos of the children from the respective communities ?”

    I didn’t asnwer earlier because I felt your question applied more to those from the North and also it’s rare that i’d label myself Nationalist, even if that is what I appear to be πŸ˜‰

    It’s hard to answer that because, from my point of view, both cultures already have so much in common anyway and I think little “dilution” is actually required. What is required is more integration so people can see that the other side is much the same.

    Can you explain further what sort of dilution you have in mind?

    “…some were more strongly gaelic and others not at all gaelic”

    Cutting a bit close to a “racial purity” argument there, could be dangerous πŸ˜‰

  • Davros

    LOL- Gaelic as in cultural, not racial. After all Mr Adams is very Gaelic yet comes of planter stock. Ditto John Hume.

    The point you are making helps me explain this.
    “What is required is more integration so people can see that the other side is much the same.”
    you see the Gael/non-Gael thing as concrete, rather than being an identity that can be modified to reflect a potential change in Irish society?

    The Gaelic movement linked music, literature and language to Catholicism and nationalism. Can the link be severed ?

    The language, music and literature is part of our cultural heritage. That aspect of Gaeldom could all be shared – However if we stick with the fusion of religion+politics+culture then that cannot be shared, cannot be used to “join” the communities but will always be used to differentiate.

    A good example is the Cu Chulainn Myth which has become contested.

  • maca

    “Gaelic as in cultural, not racial”

    The difference is not always so clear. I think they tend to merge in situations such as this. I think.

    “you see the Gael/non-Gael thing as concrete, rather than being an identity that can be modified to reflect a potential change in Irish society?”

    I don’t think many people down south recognise this “Gael” identity. We just have AN Irish identity but I doubt few people have put any thought into what that identity actually is.
    Irish society is certainly undergoing continuous change, i’m sure our identity, whatever that is, is changing too.

    “Can the link be severed ?”
    Define the Gaelic movement you are referring to. More Irish people (my age) I would guess are not too familiar with any kind of “movement” other than the current Irish language drive.

    Personally I don’t see any link between language/music* and nationalism or religion.
    My being interested in the Irish language has nothing to do with anything else. Though perhaps a small part of it is pride in my culture.
    Of course some people are different, but most people interested in the language are sick of it’s politicisation and are quick enough to cut it’s ties with any kind of nationalist movement.

    *I presume singing rebel songs at a session fall into this area. But i don’t think this link is part of any “movement” as such.

    “The language, music and literature is part of our cultural heritage. That aspect of Gaeldom could all be shared – However if we stick with the fusion of religion+politics+culture then that cannot be shared, cannot be used to “join” the communities but will always be used to differentiate.”

    I totally agree. But I think (and perhaps this is unfair) that Unionists reject these things. I have said many times that the Irish language is part of your culture too, that it belongs to everyone on the island but many people flatly reject that.
    This rejection is understandable considering how SF ***** use the language, but SF won’t change. So I think unionists have to to a certain degree.
    Can we do something to help?

    Jeez, you couldn’t ask easier questions? My head is wrecked trying to figure out some technical things and you come along with these!?!

  • maca

    Just reading my own response, I don’t know what I was trying to say there so I hope you can make sense of it ;))

  • Davros

    You are a product of Post Independence ROI πŸ™‚ Therefore to a great extent the need to have a non-Anglo identity is gone from you – it’s different in the six. The package is very different in the North. We have a bi-polar society in which the concept of “otherness” rules. It’s getting eroded – a good example would be the issue of the remembrance of the dead from the World Wars.

    Here The GAA, the Language Movement and arts such as “Trad” music are seen as “Irish” rather than “British”. Is there any reason why there shouldn’t be a “Unionist” camp within the GAA ? Or by definition does one have to accept the nationalist
    ethos to fit in ?

  • Davros

    “Can we do something to help?”

    There’s the rub. Would people be prepared to drop the things that we feel alienate us so as to broaden the appeal ? Drop the Political component, which is overt,entirely ? The religious component is different. But things like finding a new Flag, New anthem and drawing up a new constitution for the 21st Century ?

    This – Pat Fanning , one-time president GAA, as reported Irish Times , “the GAA position is clear. Its historical role is not a myth. Our charter proclaims the determination of the GAA to work for a 32 county Ireland. The allegiance of the GAA is to Ireland. That allegiance is unequivocal. The very existence of the GAA is a protest not alone against the occupation of Casement Park, but against the occupation of Ireland, or any part of Ireland.”

    Let me hasten to add.. there’s nothing wrong with wanting to work for a United Ireland. But in that case the GAA is “yours” rather than “Ours”.

  • maca

    “We have a bi-polar society in which the concept of “otherness” rules”

    Part of the reason why I find those issues so hard to answer. We’re just not so familiar with these issues.

    “Is there any reason why there shouldn’t be a “Unionist” camp within the GAA ? Or by definition does one have to accept the nationalist
    ethos to fit in ?”

    I don’t think there should be a unionist or nationalist camp in the GAA. Certainly one doesn’t have to accept any nationalist ethos to fit in. The rule book* may give the impression that the GAA is more a political organisation than a cultural one but that’s far from the truth.

    One thing Unionists would have to accept though is that the aim of the GAA is to strengthen “”Gaelic”” culture throughout the island. This means language & music as well as sport.
    Perhaps the GAA needs to change, to become just a sports organisation representing just the national sports but it is unlikely to change for some time.
    How much of this could unionists accept?

    *for many Unionists the rule book IS the GAA. To me the rule book means nothing.

  • maca

    “Would people be prepared to drop the things that we feel alienate us so as to broaden the appeal ? Drop the Political component, which is overt,entirely ? The religious component is different. But things like finding a new Flag, New anthem and drawing up a new constitution for the 21st Century ?”

    No one joins the GAA for the politics. They only join it for the sports. It’s all about the sports (or music/language).
    Eventually the GAA will change and drop a lot of these things, just need to get rid of some of the stubborn old timers.
    Things need to change in the North though. Over the years there has been attacks on GAA premises and members and lots of abuse by the security forces, which has made things worse.

  • Davros

    We are slowly moving closer as communities Maca.
    Some Unionists and Loyalists are accepting Irish , although in some cases it’s for the “wrong” reasons – not for commonality but to “reclaim what they took”.

    If most people in the GAA really don’t see it as having a political function , it would be a huge step forward if the Constitution was redrawn and the concept of a Gaelic Identity could be an objective in it’s own right rather than as part of a political package.

    I phrased that about a Unionist Camp badly. I didn’t mean it as being seperate within the GAA. What I should say – Is there any reason why there shouldn’t be a Unionist Presence in The GAA ?
    Or do we have to set aside our Unionism to be welcome ?

  • Davros

    The attacks in the North are indefensible – but they are a symptom of the division, us and them.

    It’s interesting that from what I have seen in the papers , there has been less, if any , problems with the PSNI Gaelic team in the ROI than here in the North.

    “Eventually the GAA will change and drop a lot of these things, just need to get rid of some of the stubborn old timers.
    Things need to change in the North though. “

    I’m afraid there’s an element of Chicken and Egg in this.

  • willowfield

    I don’t think many people down south recognise this “Gael” identity. We just have AN Irish identity but I doubt few people have put any thought into what that identity actually is.

    That’s the problem, isn’t it? There’s an unthinking assumption that Irish=Gaelic.

  • maca

    “If most people in the GAA really don’t see it as having a political function , it would be a huge step forward if the Constitution was redrawn”

    It should be, most of it is archic nonsense.
    Although when it was drawn up I think it was justified. But now it’s 2004 so…

    “Is there any reason why there shouldn’t be a Unionist Presence in The GAA ?”

    Absolutly none. And I have heard that the unionists in Donegal have some involvement in the GAA. It’s a start maybe??

    “Or do we have to set aside our Unionism to be welcome ? “

    Not in my opinion. How many British people in Britain and Europe take part? Quick a lot. I know it’s different for them but should it be?

    “It’s interesting that from what I have seen in the papers , there has been less, if any , problems with the PSNI Gaelic team in the ROI than here in the North.”

    I think there is a big difference between the GAA in the North and that in the Republic. Naturally enough IMHO, although some have said there’s no difference.

    “That’s the problem, isn’t it? There’s an unthinking assumption that Irish=Gaelic.”

    Only in your mind Willowfield. The real truth is different. You don’t know Irish (ROI) people as well as you may think.