GAA: the case for changing Rule 42

Fascinating piece focused on the public position of the GAA viz a viz the potential dropping of Rule 42 (which forbids the use of GAA premises for anything other than GAA sports). The organisation’s Chair Sean Kelly says that they will approach the Republic’s Government for a further grant of up to Β€50 million towards the redevelopment of Croke Park, if the ban on is lifted at Congress next April.

Though he’s likely to face some resistence in getting the necessary changes, Kelly argues that the context for the discussion at the next GAA’s Congress has iself changed:

“For a start we received a Β€40 million grant recently, so the argument that we shouldn’t discuss opening Croke Park until the Government honoured a commitment entered into back in 2001 is no longer valid. Secondly, we have put in place a number of safeguards to ensure that if counties propose motions regarding Croke Park, they won’t be ruled out of order on technicalities. Thirdly, Lansdowne Road will be closed for redevelopment, so the use of Croke Park has become a national issue.”

However changing the rule will not be easy as it requires a two-thirds majority to authorise any amendments.

Thanks to Maca for the heads up!

  • maca

    Willow
    “A rule that requires every club to get permission from the central council to host a karaoke evening, a community safety meeting or a cross-community rugby match is a bad rule.”

    Actually no. Every organisation needs to control their premises otherwise god only knows that could be going on in clubs.

    “Because the Central Council’s permission wasn’t sought or given.”
    How do you know?
    If the clubs built facilities to play these sports then of course permission was sought. Same goes for the American Football or Olympics, the would have gotten permission.
    Or is there something more specific you are referring to?

    “Don’t pretend the GAA wasn’t and isn’t riddled with anti-Britishness!”

    I’ll not pretend anything. There is probably a SMALL anti-British minority. The GAA is not riddled with anti-Britishness. The vast majourity of GAA folk play british sports, watch british tv, follow british clubs. Some live in Britain, some ARE british.

  • Davros

    Am I correct in saying that the GAA is like the Orange Order in this respect – control is not very centralised ?

  • maca

    Prater
    Fair points. Still though, I don’t get the connection between withholding funding from the GAA & opening Croker. Sounds like blackmail to me πŸ˜‰
    I do think they should open Croker, at least for the next few years when it’s needed but withholding funding makes it a lot more difficult for the GAA, and even though the funding will probably go directly into Croker it’s bound to have an effect on small clubs who have their own funding issues.
    A new club starting up for example, will find it hard to get so much as a sliotar from the GAA. Β€40mill could do a lot of good for a dying sport like hurling.

  • Davros

    A new club starting up for example, will find it hard to get so much as a sliotar from the GAA.

    They can always write to Ballymena council πŸ˜‰

  • maca

    LOL Davros. During the 6 months wait they could use golf balls instead. πŸ˜‰

  • Davros

    I have one I found in the road – I assumed it was a baseball, and on the assumption that where there is a baseball there may be baseball bats I legged it!

  • maca

    A wise move Davros. πŸ˜‰

  • Prater

    Maca,
    I relaise this is a sensitive issue for some people within the GAA and I do not want to see small clubs suffer due to withdrawal of government funding. However I certainly don’t see this as blackmail. The GAA are the governing body and it is ther responsibilty to look after their members. If government withdraws funding due to their refusal to take advantge of other revenue sources then they are at fault not the government. The fact that the GAA have said they will be looking for Β€50M from the government if they open CP could more correctly be seen as blackmail IMO. I fully supported Minister O’Donogue’s stance that FAI funding could be affected if they did not get their house in order by advertising the two posts of CEO and CFO by the end of the year (I emailed him to say so) and I didn’t consider that blackmail. If government is funding sports bodys then it has a right and a duty to ensure that money is been well spent. To the best of my knowledge the funding for the redevelopment of LR was made on the condition that it would be open to the GAA for matches if they wanted to play them there.

  • George

    Willowfield,
    you seem to find the idea of promoting Irish culture as somehow anti-British. That’s a bit of a leap.

    As a British person, maybe you would be better off addressing why you feel promoting Irish culture is xenophobic or anti-British rather than what it actually is – the promotion of Irish culture.

    Or are you trying to say Irish culture is xenophobic? And if you do believe it is xenophobic why do you think that is?

    Prater,
    “My point is that any further funding which is to be given to the GAA and which will inevitably be used to pay off this debt should be witheld becuase they now have an opportunity to open CP to rugby and soccer”

    The money for Croke Park wasn’t given for a national stadium, it was given to promote Gaelic Games. Simple as that.

    It would be a ridiculous move for the government to now withhold funding because it wants the GAA to help promote, or at the very least help out, the FAI and IRFU who have been left high and dry by a combination of their own greed as professional organisations and government incompetence over the national stadium fiasco.

    I was for the opening of Croke Park but the more I see how it is being used as some sort of stick to beat the GAA with and the more I hear people moan on as if professional sports have some God-given right to force their will on an amateur organisation because it has something they want but have never been willing to pay for, the more I think stuff them, let them play in Cardiff or Old Trafford or wherever and I hope they have to pay rent through the nose.

  • George

    Willowfield,
    care to justify your xenophobia comments or can I take it by your silence that you think anybody who promotes Irish culture is anti-British.

    You do realise this attitude has a corollary, namely that Britishness is therefore anti-Irish.

  • willowfield

    What nonsense, George!

    I made no comment about the promotion of (what you define as) “Irish culture”.

    Stop misrepresenting people.

  • George

    I’m not misrepresenting you Willowfield although I do admit you are probably misrepresenting yourself.

    The GAA’s job is to promote Irish culture and pasttimes so tell me where is the xenophobia in rule 42, which prevents using facilities for things not consistent with these aims?

    Where is the anti-Britishness in only permitting Irish field games?

  • Ringo

    willowfield

    If they are overwhelmingly in favour, why does the Congress never vote to overturn Rule 42?

    As I was saying, the main reason for changing the rule is financial not political so the real push to open it up has only grown in recent years in tandem with the size of Croke Park debts.

    Last spring the GAA committee (made up of GAA ex-presidents) responsible for motions at congress delared a motion to debate Rule 42 to be ‘out of order’ due to a technicality (read – top brass didn’t want it on the adgenda). Clare, Roscommon, Dublin, Laois, Wicklow, Longford and Cavan are all putting forward motions to get relating to it this year (and they are making sure that they won’t be rejected for ‘technical reasons’).

    It wasn’t debated at Congress the previous year either, and the last vote was lost by a whisker (and a few ‘absent’ delegates).

    It will be opened up, no question about that and probably this year, – but don’t expect to see much support from the 6 counties.

    why do clubs need a xenophobic ban in place in order to make decisions about who they let their property to?

    now it can’t really be xenophobic when the same lads are playing the two sports, can it?

    Basically it is a lot easier to tell the local soccer club secretary whose probably got family involved in the GAA club, ‘sorry- the GAA HQ won’t allow it’, than have to make an unpopular decision locally.

  • James

    “Why is Henry using the American spelling of “defence”

    ‘Cause it’s the right way to spell it.

    I think it’s time for the Romper Room to argue over the right name for Derry again.

    Carry on, Sluggiepoos.

  • maca

    Prater
    “The fact that the GAA have said they will be looking for Β€50M from the government if they open CP could more correctly be seen as blackmail IMO.”

    I agree. I don’t understand the GAA’s attitude here at all. But I also think it’s blackmail to refuse funding unless it is opened. The whole approach by evertybody (government, FAI, IRFU, public) has been wrong on this.

    “If government is funding sports bodys then it has a right and a duty to ensure that money is been well spent.”

    True. But remember it is the job of the GAA to promote Gaelic sports. This does not include soccer or rugby.

    Anyway having said all that, it would be scandalous if the soccer & rugby boys had to play their games away from home. We’ve already lost world cup rugby games because of the LS work, hopefully it will all be sorted come April.

  • Prater

    Whatever the rights and wrongs of rule 42 I hope as a soocer and GAA former player and supporter that the GAA for whatever reasons decide to allow the FAI use CP for the 2008 EC qualifiers. It will be a shame for the many supporters who can’t afford to travel to the UK for the games if they have to miss out. It will also be an embarrassment for which the government and the FAI both have responsibity for.

  • mememe

    unless i’m very much mistaken, na piarsigh in cork are called after patrick pearse, who was a rebel but hardly a provo. and in my experiance with the gaa, the organisation is not sectarian. so long as you can play, they’ll take u. and rule 42 is NOT sectarian. of the two sports it hates most (according to posters here) soccer was generally played by the urban working class, rugby by upper class belvedere boys. neither of these groups would be containig all that many protestants in the republic. anglophobia and sectarianism are not the same thing.

  • Henry94

    mememe

    From the history of Na Piarsaigh

    In choosing a name for the club the members sought one which would reflect their aims and ideals. Padraig Pearse, it was felt, because of his underlying love of Ireland and all things Irish, reflected those ideals admirably. Thus the name “Na Piarsaigh” was adopted.

    A set of playing-gear colours (black and amber) was acquired. Later in 1951 the symbolic red hand of Ulster with severed thumb was selected as the club crest after careful consideration. The red hand represents the island that is Ireland, the the severed thumb our six north-eastern counties still under foreign rule. The legend is that when Ireland is united the thumb will again rejoin the fingers to create a strong and useful hand.

  • Davros

    patrick pearse, who was a rebel but hardly a provo

    I don’t think even the provos would entertain someone like Pearse:

    I forgive you, child
    Of the soft red mouth:
    I will not condemn anyone
    For a sin not understood.
    Raise your comely head
    Till I kiss your mouth:
    If either of us is the better of that
    I am the better of it.
    There is a fragrance in your kiss
    That I have not found yet
    In the kisses of women
    Or in the honey of their bodies.

  • davidbrew

    “The GAA’s job is to promote Irish culture and pasttimes”

    -So what’s un-Irish about rugby and football?
    And how is the GAA promoting the Irish culture of Unionists at the moment?

    Oh I forgot-ONE Irish culture, not both.

    “The UDA murdered and maimed hundreds people because of their religion” Indeed they did, and deserve our contempt accordingly. But how would you like a sports club named after one of their killers?
    Meanwhile the IRA is full of dacent broths of bhoys who would never hurt a Protestant -if they ever met one down the Kevin Lynch club, but sure the stuck up stiff necked bastards wouldn’t associate with members and come up with the feeble excuse that thew club’s named for someone who helped a group who were only fighting for their freedom by..er..shooting and blowing up Protestants. Yup very logical.

  • George

    Davidbrew,
    as unionism has jettisoned its Irishness, that makes you simply British. Or would you care to point out the Irish part of the DUP manifesto and policy. I’ll give you until next Wednesday to drag it up for me. I’ll be impressed if you can find anything.

  • maca

    Davridbrew

    Are you suggesting that soccer and rugby are Gaelic sports?? Surely not!
    That’s what the GAA is tasked with promoting, Gaelic sports (& music, song, language), so *news flash* soccer and rugby don’t come in to it!!
    Soccer and rugby also have their own associations, IFA, FAI & IRFU.

    Also, the vast majourity of GAA members do not want to be associated with PIRA and do not want our clubs named after PIRA terrorists. I know you won’t want to believe it but that’s the truth.
    And at the end of the day it doesn’t matter what the clubs names are or what the rules are you’d still find something to whinge about as long as it promotes Gaelic culture.

  • Davros

    A set of playing-gear colours (black and amber) was acquired. Later in 1951 the symbolic red hand of Ulster with severed thumb was selected as the club crest after careful consideration. The red hand represents the island that is Ireland, the the severed thumb our six north-eastern counties still under foreign rule. The legend is that when Ireland is united the thumb will again rejoin the fingers to create a strong and useful hand.

    That’s a new one , and a rather strange one, to me Henry – Was there a tradition that the red hand can symbolise all 32 counties or was this something post-partition ?

  • Davros

    as unionism has jettisoned its Irishness

    eh ? That’s another one of those OTT sweeping statements that could be taken as offensive George.

  • Henry94

    Davros

    I haven’t come accross it in any other context. Maybe they were the first to stumble on the 32 county Ulster solution.

  • Davros

    Are you suggesting that soccer and rugby are Gaelic sports?? Surely not!
    That’s what the GAA is tasked with promoting, Gaelic sports (& music, song, language), so *news flash* soccer and rugby don’t come in to it!!
    Soccer and rugby also have their own associations, IFA, FAI & IRFU.

    Maca, DavidB is right in one respect –
    You should be tactfully pointing out to George
    that the GAA is tasked with promoting Gaelic sports etc , and that it is offensive and dangerous to imply, as he did with
    The GAA’s job is to promote Irish culture and pasttimes that only things Gaelic are Irish.

  • Davros

    Ach well Henry , we are after all by far the best province πŸ˜‰

  • Henry94

    Davros

    Except at Gaelic Football, Hurling, Soccer, Rugby, economic development, self-government, democracy and peace.

    But none of their breakfasts can touch the Ulster Fry.

  • Davros

    I thought Ulster counties had done rather well in Gaelic Sports over the past few years ?
    There’s no civilisation South of the Drumlin belt Henry!

  • maca

    Davros
    It can be looked at both ways. George is not actually wrong as Gaelic sports are Irish sports, he just wasn’t very specific. πŸ˜‰

    And the implication that he meant “that only things Gaelic are Irish”, that’s down to the individual I guess. I didn’t think he was implying that at all.

    This could also lead us onto the issue of whether or not soccer and rugby are “Irish sports”, which of course we won’t go into :-]

  • maca

    “But none of their breakfasts can touch the Ulster Fry.”

    Sounds painful. Punishment-beating type thing is it? πŸ˜‰

  • mememe

    and once again, people choose 2 forget that THERE ARE THREE ULSTER COUNTIES NOT IN NORTHERN IRELAND

  • Davros

    so what ?

  • Jacool

    There seems to be a few names popping up here consistently and I’m new so I hope I’m not like the outsider at a wedding getting involved in a family feud. here’s my input just by the by
    1. i recall a gaelic game in galway (ah, junior football) and we worked the ball from one end of the pitch to the other. the cross field ball was headed in by our full-forward who was having an arm tugged at the time. it was a valid goal, green flag etc, and we won by a point but all he got was “what a f*@king waste of a good move” and other intellectual abuse.
    2. move forward to 1988 and the selection procedure for the match. all full-time trainers get selected first (why we never won anything !!) and then they ask those of us who missed training, why. Wwell all the lads that missed 2 sessions were ‘farming’ and were all picked. I missed one night with the excuse ‘I was watching ireland v russia in euro 88’, never thinking we’d see the likes again, and I was dropped and never selected again, ever. I moved to soccer when the new soccer season started.
    3. there was then and is now an anti-soccer bias in the gaa. these things may dilute, but will never go away. i asked a gaa-head about it and he said that there was no way Kenny Cunningham would be allowed on the hallowed turf, but when i mentioned the o h-Ailpin’s he said they were fine because “Fiji never did anything to us”
    4. I had never read the rule until up there above and can see that it will not be passed. The Northern and Rebel counties have gone against and these are our counties who have most dealings in sterling apparently, and are anti-british stances I think. It seems a pity that Ireland v France will be played abroad and thus decrease our chances of winning, unless we play at Celtic or Liverpool’s pitches. However, I think GAA people would be happier if Ireland didn’t qualify to heighten the profile of soccer further.
    5. Its a great stadium, and only the back door system has made it be used more in the last few years. It seems a pity that its not to be used for other games, but just because we want this won’t make it happen. Even changing the rule just for this stadium will not keep the lads down the country happy, I fear.
    6. Finally, just a quick note on xenophobia. Its easy to think that we are not xenophobic, and this was easier back in the days of being 100% white and 95% catholic. but i think we are. my other half works in the hospital and gets to see how the blacks, poles and turks get welcomed in cork, despite building our roads under budget and ahead of time. we’ve always relied on other nations taking in our brothers and sisters but don’t really appear to be ‘that’ accommodating when the shoe is on the other foot ! a lot of the anti-english stuff is actually diminishing as we seem to have realised that we have a lot in common with them. i lived there for 10 years and the attitudes here were very different before i left as opposed to now. i couldn’t have imagined all those stags coming over in the 80’s for example.
    anyway, as I say, just my tuppence into the mix. looks like a healthy forum though with a good tolerance of widely opposed views.
    as long as we can continue in that vein, we’re not all bad then are we ?

  • Davros

    Nice to meet you jacool- welcome.

  • maca

    Jacool
    Just one thing there…

    “there was then” probably “and is now an anti-soccer bias in the gaa.” You’ll find that quite a significant percentage i.e. most gaa people either play or watch soccer.

    “i asked a gaa-head about it and he said that there was no way Kenny Cunningham would be allowed on the hallowed turf, but when i mentioned the o h-Ailpin’s he said they were fine because “Fiji never did anything to us””

    He was obviously a narrow minded so and so.
    Most GAA members I know are very proud of the fact that people like Kevin Moran or Niall Quinn were football players who switched to soccer and achieved so much. Most GAA members, IMO, are quite normal and have zero problem with soccer players playing Gaelic sports or on Gaelic grounds. And I know quite a few “dual players” actually.

  • Peter

    Hi All,

    Do you think now that the voting is done will the rule change bring about further changes to the GAA culture? I can see a situation now where the GAA seeing itself as progressive will open further and further or are they ready atall? The seem to have opened up already this year in how they’ve allowed corporations use their name / brand and image to advertise. It’s all about the money. I think once foreign sports are played on Croke Park, they will become common place throughout the country in local gaa venues which eventually might see the formation of clubs participating in both soccor rugby and gaa codes.
    Peter

    Peter