Government to treble grants for women intercounty GAA players to €1,200

Overall funding will be increased by €1.7m to €2.4m - equal to the grant received by men

Dublin’s Sinead Aherne lifts the trophy after her side’s 2020 All-Ireland win. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Dublin’s Sinead Aherne lifts the trophy after her side’s 2020 All-Ireland win. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

 

The Government is to increase dramatically the amount of grants for women’s Gaelic games. Minister of State for Sport Jack Chambers made the announcement in an interview on RTÉ’s Today with Claire Byrne on Monday morning.

He was asked about the disparity in funding for the men’s and women’s games, which was highlighted in ‘Levelling the Field: The Next Steps in Intercounty Female Gaelic Games,’ a report by the Women’s Gaelic Players Association, which has since merged with the Gaelic Players Association.

Recommendation four was, “Strive for equitable funding and investment for intercounty female players”. The report pointed out that male players “receive over four times more government funding than female players per year, €3million compared to €0.7 million in 2019”.

Asked was this the time to address that, the Minister said that it was and highlighted the discrepancy between the average grant to men and women.

“I think so. If you look at the status quo, if you’re a male player you get €1,200; if you’re a female player you get €400. I can’t stand over or defend that inequity”, said Chambers.

“We’re in 2021 and we’ve seen this year the GPA and WGPA merged, underpinned by the principle of equality. I think that principle has to stand when it comes to the funding of our players.

“What I propose doing is that we’ve €1,200 for both and I think that is the right thing to do. If you take the ‘Levelling the Field’ report from the WGPA last year and they reference for example the huge difficulty they have around certain expenses.

“We’ve seen massive growth in football and camogie over the last 20 years. For all of our young women and girls, who are playing camogie and Gaelic football, we need to ensure that there is no artificial glass ceiling when it comes to sport.

“I’m serious about rectifying that. It is absolutely important that we have parity of esteem and equality of treatment when it comes to funding. I’m going to do that this year. I think incremental progress when there is such inequality isn’t enough.

“We’ll be trebling the amount on the women’s side so it will go up to €2.4 million. There’s slightly fewer female intercounty players so there’ll be equality in terms of the average they both get. I think that’s the right thing to do.”

The Gaelic Players Association welcomed the announcement.

Co-chairs of the GPA’s national executive committee Maria Kinsella and Tom Parsons said: “The role of female intercounty players and the value that they contribute within Irish society has been rightfully recognised by today’s announcement and we thank the Minister and Minister of State for responding so positively to the data presented in the Levelling the Field report.

“We now look forward to working with them, their officials, and Sport Ireland to devise the most appropriate model for the distribution of the funding to ensure it has the most positive impact possible on the lives of our members.”

GPA interimchief executive Ciarán Barr: “With the merger of the GPA and WGPA, the pillar of equality was added to the GPA constitution. We want to achieve equality of investment, recognition, and opportunity for our female members and it is heartening that our public representatives have responded so positively to that position.

“Today’s announcement also shows that when players speak collectively with one voice through the GPA really constructive and impactful change can come about.”

Cumann Peil na mBan also welcomed the news, stating: “Together with the Camogie Association and WGPA, we have submitted proposals for players expenses as part of the intercounty Government grant scheme over the past number of years, and we are delighted to see this come to fruition.

“We would like to thank the Government officials and Sport Ireland for their engagement in relation to these grants.

“We also wish to thank members of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht for accommodating an address and feedback from our CEO, Helen O’Rourke, on Tuesday, April 27th.

“We are pleased that key recommendations from reports, which we contributed to, will be acted upon, including the allocation of player expenses as part of the intercounty government grant scheme.”

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