By John Fogarty
After years of negotiations, the GAA, Camogie Association and the Ladies Gaelic Football Association (LGFA) today announced that draft memorandums of understanding have been agreed between the associations.
Three years ago, former GAA president Liam O’Neill expressed his disappointment that a deal couldn’t be done during his tenure. The Laois native had been a major proponent of the “one club” model.
However, the organisations today revealed that following another round of separate discussions, which lasted over six months, between the GAA and the women’s sports bodies that the memorandums seeking to establish stronger links between the three had been signed off on.
The central councils of each party will now approve the documents to make them effective. The GAA’s Ard Chomhairle will sit down on March 24, the Camogie Association on March 14 and the LGFA on March 26.
In a joint statement, the memorandums were described as reflecting “the shared vision of the three organisations for a new overall organisational model within which the games, ideals and aspiration of all three Associations are equally developed and promoted.
"They recognise areas of common interest and give the Camogie Association and the LGFA representation on GAA committees, and vice versa. The memorandums have been drafted to a similar template but differ in that they reflect the different stages that the organisations have reached in discussions on developing a new relationship.”
The agreement will also see the bodies commit to exploring a framework for further integration at provincial, county and club level.
GAA president Aogán Farrell said: “We are all part of the same Gaelic games family and although we have our own identities within that family, we have so much in common. Working together we can truly claim to be a fully inclusive family organisation offering a sporting and cultural outlet for all members of the family.”
LGFA president Marie Hickey remarked: “We have increased co-operation with each other at national level over the past number of years and we will effectively pool and use the resources available to our great Associations.”
Camogie Association President Catherine Neary added: “The Camogie Association enjoys a long and historical relationship of co-operation and collaboration with the GAA and this Memorandum of Understanding provides the basis to further strengthen and formalise this relationship.”