GAA Pits county against club – Sunday Independent Letter of the Week 28/7/2019

Our club Chairman, Dave O’Neill has penned a very important letter regarding the club fixtures calendar and his letter won ‘Letter of the Week’ in the Sunday Independent on 28th July 2019. This is a very important issue affecting all clubs, see below Dave’s letter in full.
To The Editor: The GAA as a product but at the expense of its clubs
The growing commercialisation of the GAA, its status as a product and the detrimental effect this is having on its clubs needs to be addressed immediately.
On the 1st November 1884 a meeting was convened in Lizzie Hayes’ Hotel Thurles.  This meeting saw the foundation of the “Gaelic Athletic Association for the preservation and cultivation of National Pastimes”.  The intervening 135 years has seen the establishment of 2,200 GAA clubs which have been the bedrock of the organisation.
The new Inter County Hurling and Football Championship formats first implemented in 2018 has increased the number of games, competition, and drama.  However, this comes at an enormous cost to clubs and it is the greatest challenge they have ever faced.
It has resulted in club players, mentors, volunteers and their communities being abandoned by the organisation for the months of May, June, July and August quite simply the height of the Summer months.  This dire situation cannot continue past this year. The destructive effect it is having particularly in rural Ireland where the GAA is now in many parishes the only social outlet will result in stakeholders leaving the organisation in even larger numbers. 
The Inter county league quarter and semi finals must be removed.  The All Ireland finals must go back to their traditional dates and two to three windows must be created for the playing of meaningful club games during the summer.
It is 51 years since John Healy published ‘No One Shouted Stop’. The book that chronicled the emergence of the economic decline of rural Ireland and look what has happened. Now is the time to issue this clarion call again. Croke Park must STOP taking Clubs for granted. The new corporate logo ‘WHERE WE ALL BELONG’ rings very hollow and the fear is that the newly formed Fixture Review Committee will only be a white wash.
The fixture calendar is a farce. The manner in which clubs are being treated is a disgrace. Are we to be generation of GAA people who failed to shout stop. I know as an active member and advocate of the GAA that I am ashamed for not doing so before now.
Dave O Neill, Ballykeeffe, Ballycallan, Co. Kilkenny 

Dave also spoke on local radio station Community Radio Kilkenny City (CRKC) on Monday evening and a lively discussion ensued. Click on the link below to listen to the discussion:

Dave O’Neill on CRKC discussing club fixture calendar