Dublin to resist any cuts to central GAA funding

County chairman Andy Kettle confirms that Dublin’s funding allocation is under review

Dublin County Board chairman Andy Kettle.

Dublin County Board chairman Andy Kettle.

Wed, Aug 27, 2014, 01:00

Dublin will be resisting any reduction in their central GAA funding for next year, claiming they’re being penalised for their own success while other counties are already benefitting from the lucrative gate receipts they create.

County chairman Andy Kettle has confirmed that Dublin’s funding allocation for 2015 is under review, and that they’re the only county with a proposed cut: they’re facing a reduced allocation in coaching and games development, while Fingal will no longer be recognised for their share of national hurling league funds.

“Last Friday week, a document was released to counties, indicating what funds were going to come to any particular county, like the GAA do every year,” said Kettle. “We didn’t get an awful lot of time to study the document, but our county secretary (John Costello) highlighted the fact that Dublin were the only county that had a potential cut.

“First of all it would be eating into our coaching and games development. And the system we have up and running at the moment, Dublin doesn’t make a huge amount. If you look at Dublin accounts for the last number of years, it’s barely breaking even. It’s not as if we’re building a war chest. So taking any funds from it will affect our bottom line.

‘Develop hurling’

“The Fingal figure I can give you, in that they get €11,000 from the hurling league fund. Fingal was actually set up at the behest of Croke Park, to develop hurling in the Fingal area. We have now 10 or 11 clubs playing hurling where previously Fingal was kind of a wasteland from a hurling point of view. We certainly feel there we’re being penalised for perceived success. And again it’s perceived success, because there are areas of Dublin county which are wasteland from a GAA point of view.

“We’re also trying to promote the game in an area that is a fifth of the population of the country. And, from the promotional side of things, we’re up against a very slick, very successful Leinster rugby brand. In fact if you go back to the Blue Wave strategic plan, one of the aspirations we had is that Dublin be treated as a province from a financial point of view. Not alone has that not happened, but the GAA seem to be picking at the bit we have.”

Dublin also have concerns over the annual Irish Sports Council allocation of around €1 million, which Kettle believes had been specifically ring-fenced for Dublin: “That grant is administered through Croke Park with strict parameters on it, whereby we have to give bi-monthly reports as to our progress on participation rates and our coaching programme etc, which we do. Now it seems they can take a little bit off that, and give it to somebody else, which I don’t accept.

“And when we secured the sponsorship from AIG, one of the points I made, quite forcefully, was that this income would allow us to continue to do the job that we had been doing. Now, I don’t disagree with the argument that weaker counties should get more help.

“In fact, I spoke strongly in favour of that proposal when it came up at Central Council, whereby Croke Park should be looking at funding strength and conditioning for counties who cannot afford it.

‘Other areas’

“But why rob Peter to pay Paul? To me, there could be some other areas within the Association where budgets could be trimmed a little bit to fund that, as distinct from taking away from something that is successful. So we are certainly going to fight any cuts.”

And Dublin, added Kettle, continue to pour more money into the GAA’s gate receipts than any other county – pointing at Sunday’s virtual sell-out against Donegal: “Kerry and Mayo brought 52,000 to Croke Park for one semi-final. Dublin and Donegal are bringing 82,000 to Croke Park for the second semi-final.

“I respectfully suggest to the three other counties, that regardless of which two of them would have been playing together, they wouldn’t have filled Croke Park. So you have 30,000 extra people at whatever the average price of a ticket is. So the problem we have is why take from what is ours to give to somebody else?”

Kettle also laughed off the comments from Donegal manager Jim McGuinness comparing Dublin’s financial resources to Roman Abramovich putting oil money into Chelsea, and the subsequent impact on the Premier League. “At the moment, managers will try and get any little bit of psychological advantage they can. My thing is that money helps but, basically, it doesn’t buy you success.”

Kettle also confirmed that Anthony Daly has yet to indicate his intentions to continue as Dublin hurling manager, although the county board would be looking for at least a three-year commitment, from whoever takes charge.

“I don’t think another year’s extension is what’s required for Dublin hurling. I think it’s a three-year project. As far as I’m aware, Anthony does recognise it’s more than a year’s extension we’re looking for. He’s had time to think about it, talk to his family, evaluate his own personal life, and whether the road up to Dublin is getting longer or shorter.”

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