Criteria for Croke Park funding


A chara, - The GAA is to be congratulated on the official opening of the new stand at Croke Park and I am sure the whole country will be justly proud of the stadium when it is completed. It will be among the finest in Europe and the €38 million that is being sought from the Government should be made available to complete the work.

However, Government policy on funding events or organisations that are discriminatory in nature should apply to all funding requests, as in the case of the male-only policy of Portmarnock Golf Club. This last bastion of male dominance and exclusivity has been told in no uncertain terms that it will not receive Government funds in the future if its policy of discrimination against women is not changed. Surely the same criteria should apply to the GAA when taxpayers' money is being sought for a publicly funded stadium? Is the GAA not guilty of discrimination against Irish people who wish to play other forms of sport in Croke Park?

The GAA should not be rescued from the precarious financial position that it finds itself in until it agrees to change its arcane, divisive and discriminatory rules which exclude Irish citizens from using and enjoying a great national asset. It is to be hoped that its incoming president of the GAA will eschew the regressive Northern influence of the past few years and have both the sense and the will to accept the wishes of the vast majority of citizens who do not wish to have their taxes spent on organisations that blatantly discriminate against people on the grounds of their choice of sport.

Were public funds sought in this way to discriminate against Travellers, homosexuals or immigrants, the Irish people would take to the streets to condemn such actions and no government would dare support such blatant discrimination against sections of its own people.

It is time for the Government to take a stand against attitudes that have no place in modern Ireland and to establish proper and transparent principles of equality and inclusiveness for all in the use of public funds - and at one "stroke" secure a truly national stadium of which we can all be justly proud.

Surely the ultimate win-win situation for the Taoiseach! - Yours, etc.,

SEÁN Ó DHUIBHIR, Beann Eadair, Atha Cliath.