GAA is built on volunteerism – so no manager should expect payment, other than for expenses

I enjoyed Dick Clerkin’s insightful article about payment to inter-county GAA managers (‘County managers need to be paid professionals – and no longer via the black market’, Irish Independent, September 20).

ick makes a very convincing case for professional inter-county management and coaches. I’d like to provide a contrary perspective.

The GAA is built on volunteerism, rooted in the love of club and county. It’s where we all belong.

Volunteerism is the lifeblood of the GAA. It’s wonderful to see the loyalty and passion that members have for their own club. The majority of GAA players and members are “one club” loyalists, who give their all for the parish.

Clubs are run by dedicated volunteers who devote endless hours to tasks that remain, by and large, unheralded – lining the pitch, stewarding, fund-raising, etc.

Similarly, referees, linesmen and umpires turn out week after week to ensure games can be played nationwide.

Managers and team officials at all levels dedicate a considerable amount of their free time to preparing teams. All GAA members share an inherent love of Gaelic games and Irish culture.

I admire Dick Clerkin’s self-expressed commitment to his native county and his astute deduction that “it’s the homegrown sidelines that deliver the greatest rewards”.

Those sentiments effectively express what the GAA is all about.

If professionalism in any form supersedes the amateur ethos and voluntary nature of the GAA, a wonderful association will be stripped of its heart and soul. If professional inter-county managers are introduced, monetary reward, as distinct from “love of the jersey”, will quickly permeate all levels of the GAA.

Every county has homegrown management and coaching expertise at all levels, well capable of managing their county and club teams. To manage your club or county is a unique privilege. No manager or coach should expect or request payment, other than legitimate personal expenses.

Paying managers and coaches either by professional salary or via the “black market” is alien to the mission of the GAA.

Billy Ryle

Tralee, Co Kerry

North’s sectarian divide still permeates its society

According to census results, there are more Catholics than Protestants in Northern Ireland.

I wonder why we latch on to these figures when very few now practice their faith. Is it because one cohort is nationalist and in the ascendancy?

It reminds me, sadly, of the past, during the Troubles when we constantly heard the news reports that a Catholic or a Protestant was shot or killed. While relevant, it was always divisive. It seems nothing changes.

Aidan Roddy

Cabinteely, Dublin

Alternative opinions on abortion need an airing

As John F Higgins (Irish Independent, Letters, September 20) pointed out, “the housing crisis is now feeding into a population emergency”. “Births are being postponed” and, despite our fertility rate falling to 1.70 in 2019, our government has brought in free birth control and free abortions.

While there is much discussion on how future pensions are to be paid, with fewer births, this problem will be greatly exasperated.

Tony Curran (‘Women with unplanned pregnancies need more help’, Irish IndependentLetters, September 21) referred to “an impressive turnout for the March for Life in Dublin”.

This in itself was very welcome as the media practically completely ignored this gathering which, ironically, was arranged to highlight the lack of coverage of the review of abortion legislation. It seems RTÉ’s nine o’clock news allocated 23 seconds to this item.

Mr Curran said “the Government needs to start providing serious support to women in unplanned pregnancies to ensure a woman never feels like she has ‘no choice’ but to proceed with an abortion”.

I wonder how many are aware that the government provides no support whatsoever for any alternative to abortion. Only pro-life groups with voluntary donations do so.

While it is to be welcomed that these letters were published, it is more than disappointing that our media is not interested in ensuring that the review of our abortion legislation is properly carried out. This is certainly not happening at present.

Mary Stewart

Ardeskin, Donegal town

Norma Foley’s lack of planning is damaging to children

Education Minister Norma Foley said on RTÉ’s Prime Time this week she is in discussions with Public Expenditure Minister Michael
McGrath over funding for more bus places for children. This increase in demand was predictable from the announcement of free school transport in July.

Minister Foley opens schools and compliments the awarding of Green Flags for environmental conservation policies, yet has countless parents unnecessarily burning fuel in family cars. Her use of words such as “eligibles” and “concessionaries” during the Prime Time program is disingenuous. These are children, not “individuals” – another word she uses to refer to school children.

These are children whose access to school is affected by this unnecessary stress on them and their families.

Our current cohort of school-goers have endured more than their parents and grandparents with six months of accumulative closure of school buildings over the pandemic.

They face another winter sitting in cold, inadequately ventilated classrooms and now Minister Foley cannot even get them to school.

Education is a basic right for all. When access to education is impeded, disadvantage is created. Minister Foley has created this disadvantage through lack of planning.

Neasa Ní Lionáird

Killarney, Co Kerry

Give Charles sympathy despite his pen episode

On reading Roslyn Dee’s colorful observations on King Charles (‘We’re all getting royally angrier, so let’s calm down’, Irish IndependentSeptember 22) and his pen episode I felt a twinge of sadness.

I remember when my mother “passed” and went to a better place. I didn’t realize the traumatic effect that it had on me until well afterwards.

Despite his privileged position, let’s show him some sympathy and compassion. I’m not sure how I would have coped in similar circumstances.

Gerry Murphy

Killester, Dublin 5

Questions remain over the proposed pension set-up

It is interesting to hear and see the information being given to the electorate on the proposed options to defer one’s old-age pension for up to four years (ages 66 to 70).

The cost in those four years to the pensioner who defers is a loss of income in the amount of €57,000.

The increase of €60 per week at the maximum rate comes to €13,000 in the period from 71 to 75 years of age.

It would take another 13 years to make up the balance of unpaid pension to the pensioner.

Two questions are unanswered. One, why is there no benefit up to age 87/88 to the pensioner who defers his pension? Two, how is the estate of a pensioner who dies within the period of 66 to 87 years of age compensated by the State for deferring his/her pension?

Paul Coughlan

Ballygawley, Co. Sligo

Truss’s government has no ‘special relationship’

Regarding Rozina Sabur’s article (‘White House suspends use of term “special relationship” with Britain’, Irish IndependentSeptember 22), she states that Liz Truss is not overly keen on the term.

However, if she insists on tearing up an international agreement, namely the Northern Ireland Protocol, it could be said that she will have no “special relationship” with this country either.

Leo Gormley

Dundalk, Co. Louth

Coalition is out of touch with reality on taxation

To read that neither Fine Gael nor Fianna Fáil made any submissions to the Commission on Tax and Welfare, but nevertheless came out shouting that the submissions made were from Sinn Féin types, clearly shows how out of touch these two parties are with reality.

Declan Foley

Melbourne, Australia

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button
Abbeyfeale Golf Club