The removal of the free pass for club delegates and All-Ireland senior medal holders was described as “very petty” at last night’s Cork County Board meeting.
It was agreed at the February meeting of the Cork county board that the once free county board pass, which entitles delegates and those who won an All-Ireland senior medal with Cork free entry into all club games in the county, would now come at a cost of €50.
Introducing this proposal, county chairperson Tracey Kennedy had said the board must “show leadership in relation to our financial situation”, adding that “every little helps”.
Youghal delegate Liam Ó Laochdha, who was absent for the February meeting, last night criticised the introduction of this charge.
“I am very, very disappointed at this withdrawal. I thought it was quite petty, in actual fact. [The executive] have assured on numerous occasions there would be no levy, but still there is a levy on us people at this level.
“[The pass], I thought, showed great respect for our efforts and our contribution to the county board. There are a lot of people serving as a delegate for a period of time and I presume, the same as myself, it is all at our own expense. I never asked for any expenses. But from Bantry, Castletownbere, Youghal, or Meelin to Páirc Uí Chaoimh, it is a good and long journey.
St Nick’s delegate Jerry Howe said the feedback he had received was that it was wrong to charge those who had delivered Cork All-Ireland senior glory in years past.
“The one comment I got from our general members around was that we should not ask our All-Ireland medal holders who were given the passes as part of a long-standing tradition. It was always considered a nice gesture to people who have achieved that great honour of winning a senior All-Ireland with the county, and that it would be very petty to ask these people for that amount.”
Kennedy, replying to Howe, said two All-Ireland winners had already been in touch to pay the €50 charge.
“It was agreed at the last meeting that this was a fair option and that we were offering what is essentially a season ticket that gets you into all our games at a much, much discounted rate of €50. And if we spread that over a year, that is a very small contribution. But every little helps in the situation we are in. And given there were 900 free passes out there, you can appreciate the impact it has.
The chairperson told delegates that talks have commenced between the county board executive, Cairde Chorcaí, the stadium board, the financial advisory and planning sub-committee, and other independent persons, with regard to “coming up with a coherent fundraising financing structure going forward”.
BDO, meanwhile, have been appointed to develop a business plan for Cork GAA and the stadium. The hope is that the plan will be delivered by early summer.
Pending the delivery of said plan, Cork GAA and the stadium board have agreed to jointly fund three short-term appointments in the commercial, facilities, and accounting areas.