A reconstituting of the GAA’s management committee may have to take place to comply with gender representation quotas and ensure future state funding.
Sports bodies have been informed by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media that at least 40% of their governing boards must be female by the end of this year. Otherwise, they will put their Government funding in jeopardy.
That insistence by former Minister for Sport Jack Chambers was reiterated by his successor Thomas Byrne last week. Byrne said: “I made it clear in the Dáil today that failure by the National Governing Bodies of sporting organisations to achieve 40% gender balance on their boards by the end of this year will impact on their future funding.”
Central Council delegates were informed at Saturday’s meeting that management committee (Coiste Bainisti) will have to change to reflect the directive from the department. In 2021, the GAA received €29.8 million in state Covid rescue funding. In the last normal year of 2019, it accrued €6,086,155 from the Government between youth field funding, players eligible expenses and overseas projects.
Although the current integration process between the GAA, Ladies Gaelic Football (LGFA) and Camogie Associations headed up by former President of Ireland Mary McAleese is considered a major step in the right direction, it remains to be seen if that work will allow the GAA more time to reconfigure its governance structure.
In 2021, Anne Looney became the first female to ever be nominated onto Coiste Bainisti. She is currently the only woman with voting rights on the organisation’s 15-person Management Committee and she represents 6.67% of the body. LGFA and Camogie Association chief executives Helen O’Rourke and Sinéad McNulty are non-voting members of the body. Were they to be given such rights, the female percentage would increase to 16.67%.
However, for the two other years of a president’s three-year term, there is an extra person. In the year after his departure, the immediate past president retains a seat at the table. John Horan had done so for 12 months from February 2021. In the year before they take office, the GAA president-elect assumes a position on the committee.
From next month, Larry McCarthy’s successor, Jarlath Burns, Niall Erskine or Pat Teehan will be a member. When that happens, the female voting representation drops to 6.25%.
In his annual report last year, GAA director general Tom Ryan raised the difficulties caused by the gender quota for Management Committee. “Clearly, this poses a particular challenge for the GAA on a number of fronts.
“Our Coiste Bainistíochta, in common with management boards at all levels in the organisation, is not appointed but is voted upon democratically. And of course we don’t govern women’s sport. I mention these not as excuses not to comply, merely simply to highlight a difficulty ahead.” Ryan delivers his latest annual report this Thursday.
: Larry McCarthy (GAA president); Tom Ryan (GAA director general); Pat Teehan (outgoing Leinster chair); John Murphy (Connacht chair); Ciarán McLaughlin (Ulster chair); Ger Ryan (Munster chair); Noel O’Sullivan (British GAA chair); Ned Quinn (GAA trustee); John Joe O’Carroll (GAA trustee); Paul Duggan (Ulster nominee); Martin Coleman (Leinster nominee); Brendan Tobin (Munster nominee); Paddy McNicholas (Connacht nominee); Anne Looney (president/director general nominee); Paul O’Sullivan (president/director general nominee); Helen O’Rourke (LGFA chief executive, non-voting); Sinéad McNulty (Camogie Association chief executive, non-voting); Ger Mulyran (GAA director of finance, non-voting).