McAnallen resigns from GAA's third-level committee

NUI Galway student Donal McAnallen has resigned as secretary of the Higher Education Council of the GAA (Comhairle Ardoideachais CLG) with immediate effect.

NUI Galway student Donal McAnallen has resigned as secretary of the Higher Education Council of the GAA (Comhairle Ardoideachais CLG) with immediate effect.

The Tyrone native explained that his reasons for resigning arose from both practical matters and also a sense of disillusionment with the decision by the Central Council of the GAA to agree a grants scheme with the GPA.

McAnallen said: "My decision to resign is as much a practical one as anything. I have no income at present and I'm in debt. My dedication to GAA committee work has cost me too much time, effort, personal friendships, and my health at times also.

"Up to now I kept involved because I got a sense of fulfilment from doing that work, because I thought the Association served a greater good in Irish life, and I thought everyone was working towards the same ends.

"But since the weekend when the Central Council approved the grants, I realised that the aims and workings of the Association have changed fundamentally. Suddenly I knew I had lost interest in continuing to do so much voluntary work if the sport ceases to be for sport's sake.

"Many GAA volunteers, including some of my fellow committee members, have made similar sacrifices. We thought the Association was more about giving than taking. Perhaps we were just foolish. Now I wonder whether it was all worthwhile. At least I can concentrate on other things from here on."

McAnallen has been involved in a variety of roles within the GAA as both a player and administrator.

He has also resigned from his position on the McNamee Awards (PR) Committee.

He was on the TG4 Underdogs team that faced Dublin in the first ever GAA reality TV series at Parnell Park.

As the longest-serving member of the present Comhairle Ardoideachais committee, he served for four years as treasurer and last October was elected for a third term as secretary.

During this period he spearheaded the drafting of three constitutional reviews for the sector while he also was to the forefront of efforts to clamp down on ineligibility and defended six cases successfully to the DRA.

McAnallen was also heavily involved in negotiating a six-figure sponsorship deal with Ulster Bank, which will see them committed to sponsoring the Higher Education GAA championships and leagues through to the centenary editions of the Sigerson and Fitzgibbon Cups.

He also has a keen interest as a GAA historian and he compiled all the statistical records for Higher Education competitions in the Complete Handbook of Gaelic Games and was also a former editor of High Ball magazine.

McAnallen recently worked alongside the GAA's Player Welfare Officer Paraic Duffy on a number of issues, including the provision of defibrillators, screening and scholarships.

He paid tribute to Duffy, the Association's incoming Director General, and President Nickey Brennan.

"I admire them greatly and on a personal level I am grateful for many things they have done. While I do not agree with current policy on this issue, my actions are not meant as a slight on them, and I fully support their leadership in every other respect."

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