In their inestimable wisdom, the County Board have now decided to ditch the Strategic Action Plan produced some months back by the Steering Committee chaired by Liam Horan and have instead come up with their own one. Anyone who wants to see this shiny new version (which is a ‘final draft’) can do so here. If you’re into comparing and contrasting, the original Action Plan is here.
As most of you will know, the plan produced by Liam’s Steering Committee involved significant direct input from over 80 people (I even played a small part in the process myself). I have no idea how many hands (or minds) produced the new version. They say that V2.0 contains “about 70%” of the recommendations contained in the original plan. You might want to check the veracity of that statement yourself but, from my reading of it, this can’t possibly be the case.
The Steering Committee has this morning formally disassociated itself from the new version of the Plan. Here’s the full statement that was issued in this respect:
On Sunday last, May 15th, our steering committee received a draft of a Mayo GAA Strategic Action Plan. Given that our extended group of 86 people had devoted six months to a series of meetings where we sought to produce a strategic action plan for Mayo GAA, we were curious to see the contents of the plan now produced by Mayo County Board.
Mayo GAA Board asked us to do this work over the winter of 2010/’11. Our committee did not force itself upon them. Our work was to form part of a “root and branch examination” (the board’s words, not ours) of Mayo GAA.
The final plan now produced ticks a box, but does no more than that. Somewhere, an entry can now be made: “Yes, Mayo now has a strategic plan.” But it is a dry document without any soul or heart.
The plan produced does not provide for Mayo doing something dramatic, something bold, something truly innovative. It is hard to disagree with any of the proposals in it, but it certainly will not inspire.
If adopted, it means that Mayo GAA is happy to keep doing what it has always done, thereby continuing to fail to realise its vast potential as a GAA force. A strategic plan should have vision, creativity and passion – the very traits that should be synonymous with our county, and the very traits our people have displayed here in Mayo, throughout Ireland, and all over the world.
This is a plan that could be produced by any county, anywhere – any county simply aspiring to tick a box.
The plan has over 9,000 words, but completely lacks any inspirational dimension. It ticks boxes in many areas – coaching, finance, harnessing the support of Mayo people world-wide, and others – but it doesn’t go in deep enough to create the conditions whereby genuine innovations and unstoppable momentum might be generated by Mayo GAA.
Our committee has written to Mayo county board to disassociate our names from the plan.
Root and branch? The plan now produced barely touches on the healthiest leaf on the tree, let alone delve further. It refuses to take the hard and difficult decisions necessary for success. It is a missed opportunity.
It seems Mayo GAA wishes to keep doing what it has always done, and so no-one in the future should wonder why we will continue to get the results we’ve all too frequently got.
From time to time, we get results that are uplifting and joyous. Hopefully we may even get one such result this very year.
But, taken as part of a continuum, the results achieved are rarely of a scale consistent with a county of our size, our passion for GAA, and our supportive Diaspora.
Mayo GAA deserves better.
Given that I’m not exactly an unbiased observer to this process, I don’t propose to say a whole load more on the issue. While accepting that the County Board are perfectly within their rights to do what they’re doing, I also think that they’re 100% wrong in taking the route they’ve chosen. Their Action Plan will solve none of problems and address none of the shortcomings identified by the Steering Committee and their decision to come out with their own pathetically timid plan is one which, I fear, could have long-term negative consequences for us as a GAA county.