Row breaks out between minister and GAA

The GAA has today expressed its concern at yesterday's comments by Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism Martin Cullen on the expenses scheme for GAA inter-county players.

The sporting body has re-iterated that responsibility for funding of the schemes is "solely a matter for the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism".

Uachtarán CLG, Criostóir Ó Cuana said that the department had always been aware that the GAA would not be contributing to the funding of the schemes and that this position had been accepted by both the department and the Gaelic Players Association (GPA) when the schemes were first proposed.

He said the GPA, in recognition of the current economic circumstances, had already indicated that they are prepared to accept a reduction in funding for the schemes but only if it is in line with reductions made to other bodies and athletes.

Mr Cooney said that the Government itself had put the scheme in place to recognise the contribution of inter-county GAA players to Irish sport as they do not benefit from tax relief which is available for other sports people.

He concluded by saying that the GAA had received a formal commitment in 2007 that the Government would accept full responsibility for the scale and continuity of the schemes and that the GAA’s Central Council had approved them only on that basis.


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