GAA criticised in Dáil over ‘shameful’ decision not to accept cash payment for match tickets at turnstiles

TDs cite cases of older people no longer attending games as they are unable to buy online

The GAA has been urged to reverse changes to its ticketing system, which the Dáil heard was a “shameful” decision having an impact on older supporters.

Independent TD Michael Healy-Rae said the organisation was “making a mistake” by no longer accepting cash for tickets at turnstiles.

“It is just so wrong in so many ways as it takes away from the great tradition of the GAA,” he said.

Tickets for GAA matches can now be bought only in advance, with no facilities being provided to pay by cash or card at the turnstile.* The Age Action charity has previously called on the GAA to reconsider this approach for the benefit of older supporters wishing to attend games.


Mr Healy-Rae was speaking as the Rural Independent Group put forward a motion calling for the acceptance of cash by businesses to be made a legal requirement.

The Kerry TD said he was mindful of not telling an organisation “how to run their business” but was “very politely reminding a great organisation of the great people who support them, and many of them don’t have cards, don’t have access to cards”.

Independent TD Danny Healy-Rae said he knew of an older man who “gave his life to the GAA” and had recently decided not to go to a game in Killarney as he “had to book online and he didn’t want to impose on anyone”.

“Yet, when the GAA are fundraising, they can put a box up on the stool or outside the church gate and have no problem with cash,” he said. “That has to be reversed, the GAA are a respected part of our culture and our identity and who we are and we are depending on them to lead the way and they can’t insist on cash only.”

Independent TD Mattie McGrath said he had written to the GAA a number of times about its decision, which he described as “shameful”.

The Tipperary TD said he knew of two retired men who had played hurling and had given “great service to their clubs and county and loved to go to matches”. He said they had not been to a match for 18 months, since “this carry-on came in, because they live alone, don’t have families and don’t have people to help them” buy tickets.

Sinn Féin TD Thomas Gould said he was a “GAA person all my life” and was “really disappointed” with the organisation’s decision. The Cork North-Central TD said he buys tickets on his father’s behalf but that “there are a lot of people out there who don’t have family members to get tickets”.

“And what do they do? They stay away … The association is one of the greatest things to ever come out of this island and I’m very proud to be a member and I think it’s about time now they rowed back and respected everyone within the association if they want to go cashless or pay cash, that should be a supporter’s choice,” he said.

Sinn Féin TD Imelda Munster said she had asked the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Tourism, Culture, Arts, Sport and Media to write to the GAA to ask them to review the cashless policy.

Minister of State at the Department of Finance Jennifer Carroll MacNeill said in the absence of legislation, which the Government was going to introduce through the National Payments Directive, it was a commercial decision whether or not to accept cash or card and there was no legal obligation to accept cash.

“What we have is a vacuum in relation to that,” she said.

*This article was amended on Thursday, March 10th, 2023 to remove a reference to tickets only being available online. The GAA has pointed out that tickets for games can be purchased in advance using cash or card at Centra and SuperValu outlets and via the GAA Club and County network

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times