The GAA in Cork has elected the first female vice-chair in its 128-year history, with teacher Tracey Kennedy ratified yesterday by delegates at its annual convention in Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
The Killeagh woman will retain the ‘gender-neutral’ title of vice-chairman and said she hoped other female GAA officials, such as new Tyrone chairman Roisín Jordan, would seek and achieve high office in the association.
“There’s no point being the first if you’re the only one; if there aren’t others following,” she said. “I think it’s something we need to look at. There are so many women working so hard for the GAA, putting in a lot more hours than I do. It’s something I intend to look at — what we can do to encourage women to run for positions.”
The former PRO of Cork GAA posted an impressive 467-268 victory over her rival for the position of vice-chair, Munster Council delegate Richard Murphy. On the question of her title, she declared: “I’m sticking with vice-chairman. It’s a word like ombudsman; it’s gender-neutral.”
Ms Kennedy, now employed in a communications role with the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association, will follow new Cork GAA chairman Ger Lane into the role in three years’ time — if normal practices remain.
“The biggest step was when I was elected PRO, as that was the first time a woman had been elected as an officer in any capacity,” she said. “Moving on from there, it’s probably less of a step.
“On the other hand, I suppose there is the implication when you become vice-chairman, you could become chairman. I’m not taking that for granted at all but, by electing a woman vice-chairman, the clubs are saying that they’re prepared to accept the idea of a woman chairman.”
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