‘Misogyny in the GAA’

 

A chara, – Were Orla Muldoon to pay a visit to most local GAA clubs, I would be fairly certain she would find boys and girls happily training and playing Gaelic games together until they reach the age of 11, when physical imperatives require that they compete separately, as is the case in the vast majority of sports (“The GAA is institutionally misogynistic”, Opinion & Analysis, December 30th).

They do, however, continue to share pitches and club facilities from under 13 to adult level. These facilities are owned by the GAA. The Ladies Gaelic Football Association and Camogie Association have chosen to remain as autonomous organisations without their own facilities but the GAA can hardly be blamed for this.

Indeed, in relation to the women’s football semi-final (inaccurately referenced in her article as the final), the GAA moved quickly to allow a match that would normally have been postponed to be played at Croke Park at very short notice, thereby preventing a serious fixture backlog for the LGFA.

If the GAA, LGFA and Camogie Association were to unite under one banner, it would make funding and access more equitable.

It is also curious that 100 per cent of Gaelic Players Association members recently voted to amalgamate with the Women’s Gaelic Players Association (WGPA), while only 96 per cent of the WGPA voted to do likewise.

On a separate note, in the final paragraph of her article, she blames the demise of Fianna Fáil on its “failure to empower and engage women”.

I think most people would agree that it was its failure to properly regulate the banking and construction sectors in the early years of this century that caused its current electoral woes. – Is mise,

JOHN KELLY,

Bennekerry,

Co Carlow.

Sir, – I have just read the article by Prof Orla Muldoon, in which she describes the GAA as misogynistic . According to the Oxford dictionary, misogyny is described as a “hatred of women”. This is using inflammatory and tendentious language to support a valid criticism of how the GAA has treated female players. – Yours, etc,

PAT McGRATH,

Monkstown,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – Orla Muldoon can take some solace from not being the first to embarrass themselves by being unaware that camogie and women’s Gaelic football in Ireland are not governed by the GAA. Many in the GAA have long aspired to uniting the male and female games under one organisation.

In many places outside of Ireland, all four codes are governed jointly, and the experience has been positive.

Observers from Ireland have noted that the better gender balance in GAA meetings in countries such as the United States leads to a more business-like and progressive atmosphere, with more diverse views represented.

The international experience shows the way ahead for promoters of Gaelic games in Ireland, and is more helpful than bizarre and unfounded accusations of “misogyny”. – Yours, etc,

EAMONN GORMLEY,

San José,

California.