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GAA built by unpaid volunteers

MY work for the GAA includes coaching, attending meetings, scheduling games, booking fields, organising officials and marketing the games to new audiences. The time taken in the evenings and all of Sunday is considerable; there is no pay and I don’t always claim expenses back.

I do this for the satisfaction of helping my community and passing on an aspect of our culture that gets too little recognition abroad compared to our ignoble drunken reputation.

The GAA is built by people who don’t work for financial gain and without whom there would be no clubs or high profile inter-county championship.

There is now a small number of people who are seeking to undermine this community ethos. Some have been misled into thinking that the GAA is a wealthy corporation led by highly-paid executives.

There are very few full-time GAA employees and many of them earn below what they could get in commercial enterprises. Even the GAA president is a volunteer, as is everyone on the central council and management committee, except for the director-general.

The organisation calling itself the Gaelic Players’ Association has painted itself as the equivalent of a trade union fighting an unreasonable boss. Many of its strident press releases complain about how long it takes GAA management to give in to its demands. I have sometimes worked on projects that took a long time because volunteers have limited time, because of the need for democratic approval of decisions, or because of Government red tape.

Dessie Farrell and his ilk are free to go through the channels already available by standing for election to their county boards. If they sought to change the system from the inside, they would see how little sympathy they have from volunteers like me.

I think this is why they formed an independent organisation to stand outside screaming through the keyhole.

If GAA management can be criticised for anything, it is giving too much credence to these self-appointed people who seem to have no concept of volunteerism and now have the audacity to call for a strike.

Eamonn Gormley
1411 Sacramento Street
San Francisco
California 94109