Aogán Ó Fearghail Q&A

The GAA President gives his thoughts on...

THE CLUB PLAYERS ASSOCIATION

“What the guys in the Club Players Association are saying is exactly what I’ve been saying, it’s what the Ard Stiúrthóir has been writing in his reports for the last two, three, four years. It is unfair at the moment that everything ceases for such a long block of time. It just should not be like that but it needs to be tightened and it needs to be shaken in the way that I think the current (Páraic Duffy) proposals will do.”

OVERSEAS MEMBERSHIP (20% OF TOTAL)

“The embassies are able to show that a majority of the young people in GAA clubs are coming home. They’re transient. They are spending a few years. And when they go back home, already we are seeing that they are straight away active again and improving GAA clubs. They’re changing the face of GAA in the same way Irish music was changed when it went to America and came back home. It’s a great relationship, it’s wonderful. It’s blossoming in places like this (Dubai). It’s giving them comfort. It’s the only thing that makes them very happy, they enjoy the work, the tax-free status but it can be drudgery. But the GAA club is the whole social scene. It’s very important.”

CHAMPIONSHIP ATTENDANCES

“There’s no doubt there is a steep decline and has been for a long time now in Leinster and we’re very aware of that. But the decline in Leinster also bears examination. It’s in the early rounds, it’s in the earlier stages. Once you get to a final, it tends to (increase), though it’s still a decline — you can’t mask it. It’s regional at the moment and from the figures, not just ourselves but many people are looking at it, it tells us that there’s still an appetite for our major games, certainly the concluding phases.”

CASEMENT PARK

“I think the new Casement will happen. I would have said to you six months ago I hoped it happens, but I’m saying to you now I think it will happen and I think there are still residents that have concerns but they’re being met and they’re being visited.”

MEDIA RIGHTS

“Negotiations are at an end. There are some technical issues to be addressed and they are not fully completed until everything is signed. There are still little issues, on both sides maybe, that are not fully finished off. But it’s very, very close.”

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