Chairman of the Club Players Association, Micheál Briody, has expressed his dismay at the “embarrassing” lack of transparency at GAA Congress, and hit out at those who labelled the body as a “nutty group”.
Speaking on Motion 22, from St Mary's club in Rosslare, Co Wexford, proposing that 'each delegate's vote on all motions at annual or special congress shall be recorded and published in the minutes thereafter,' which was soundly defeated with 83 per cent rejecting it, Briody explained: "When you look at our motion and the logic of our motion, it is just embarrassing being part of the Association.
“ It’s embarrassing that we don’t have transparency of the nature that’s required. . . . They can no longer tell us this is the most democratic organisation, because democracy dies in darkness. And if you don’t have transparency, then you don’t have a true democracy, or a true democratic unit.”
Delegates to Congress that spoke out against the motion – with Liam Griffin speaking in favour – included Cork chairperson Tracey Kennedy and Tony Bass, European County Board delegate.
Their reasoning was questioned by Briody, who stated: “There was no logical argument made on the floor of Congress against it.
"There were two arguments, one was Tracey Kennedy (Cork Chair) who spoke about trust. It's not a legitimate argument because we weren't talking about trust, we were talking about transparency and you have more trust when you have transparency. It's the only sporting organisation of its size in Europe that doesn't have a transparent voting system.
“That argument really just doesn’t wash.”
He added, “And then we had Tony Bass of Europe, he spoke against the CPA at last year’s Congress and he spoke again, really in ill-informed language, he had never met the CPA. I don’t know where he is coming from, talking about the vilification, calling us a ‘nutty’ group.”
Unhappy with the use of such a pejorative term, Briody added, “And again, like last year, it went unchecked from the top table.”
Briody insisted the defeated motion will not deter the players’ representative group.
“It doesn’t change our strategy. We weren’t expecting it to go through, it’s disappointing that the forum of Congress is not open enough to put through something like transparency, that’s disappointing.
"We don't really have a democratic process because there is no way Croke Park can say you can bring anything up to us from the club up, and it gets a fair hearing at Congress."
On the inherent difficulties of getting through a motion that would logically cut the need for Congress and debate out of the equation, the Meath man acknowledged the difficulties.
“I have no problem if somebody comes up against a legitimate argument on the motion. If candidates weren’t mandated by their clubs to vote in a certain way, then they would have the right to listen to a debate and make the decision there and then.
“And equally too if they were mandated and they decided after the debate to change their vote, they can do that also, but it means they are accountable to go back to their counties and say ‘look lads, I know you asked us to vote yes, but after listening to the debate, we decided to go with this’.
“Well, then they are accountable.”
Briody said the next step on the road is to seek a meeting with president-elect John Horan, with that expected to take place sometime in March.
He added, “It’s a learning curve, a lot of enlightenment there and we will look forward to meeting with Tony Bass, if he wants to meet us. I have never met the man, none of us have ever met the man but two Congresses in a row he has had very strong objections to the CPA and he is based in Europe.”