Red Hand chiefs bid to tackle rural depopulation problem

TYRONE GAA chiefs will launch an initiative to address the threat posed to rural clubs by depopulation.

A special committee will be set up to examine the issues and come up with solutions.

School closures and planning restrictions are among the factors identified as important factors in the difficulties being experienced by some rural clubs.

“The committee will focus on our many clubs with dwindling numbers, in areas with schools proposed for closing and the added impact of PPS 21 (planning strategy) which has yet to be measured,” said county chairman Ciaran McLaughlin.

“When we also remember that our parishes as we know them are in grave danger due to the ever decreasing number of priests then our present structures will have to be carefully reviewed. It is important from a strategic perspective that we understand the population changes in Tyrone.”

He added that the group will have a deadline of December 2012, when it will report to the annual convention.

Two years ago, a similar initiative was undertaken to examine difficulties being experienced by clubs in the county’s main towns and to identify ways to increase participation in Gaelic games in rural areas.

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