Johnno tackles the Minister on players’ grants

I see that Johnno, in his role as Fine Gael Deputy Spokesperson for Art, Sport and Tourism with Special Responsibility for Sport, tackled Minister Martin Cullen in the Dail last night on the players’ grants issue.  He got a proper tackle in too, forcing the Minister to concede that budgetary constraints – specifically the reduced budget that’ll be available to the Irish Sports Council next year – could mean that the grants won’t get paid in 2009.  This year’s payments, which totalled €3.5 million, have apparently already been doled out.  Johnno opined in the House that ” the principle of player grants should be maintained whatever the budgetary constraints” and while I’m sure that the good Minister will have no problem agreeing with the Deputy on the principle of paying players, it’s getting his paws on the cold, hard lolly that’ll be the problem.

It’s kinda ironic that, after all the hot air on this issue twelve months ago, something as prosaic as a lack of funding could be what kills this initiative.  When the rights and wrongs about pay-for-play were in full flow a year ago, none of us I’d say gave a second thought about where this money was coming from, despite the fact that it was from our own back pockets.  With everyone now, post-budget, paying more in tax and seeing less in services, the notion of giving grants to GAA players does seem like a bit of an extravagance we could do without.  The principle may be fine but set against rising class sizes, an inability to fund cancer vaccines, bank bailouts and this godawful ballooning budget deficit that this bunch of fuckwits who rule us don’t seem to have a clear idea about what they’re going to do to minimise it, it’s the practice of using public funds in this way in these straightened times that’s the problem.

5 thoughts on “Johnno tackles the Minister on players’ grants

  1. Any descent player worth his salt has been always well taken care off by the wide network that is the extended G.A.A family. They do well in all the profeesions, the forces etc and often its because of their football/hurling background. I for one resent paying any of my meagre pension to some lump warming his arse on a bench wearing number 20 to 30 playing for any county. Put the money they were giving the so called elites into facilities for the kids in the national schools who have yet to live the dream. Any player depending on the grant would not have been able to access the great opportunities that being involved as a G.A.A player gives. Hate sounding like the Grinch but they should never have got this money in the first place, more daft economics from fFanna Fail and its be all things to all people(by the way the other lot, all of them are even worse).

  2. a bit of a hard line there ontheroad. I would be more comfortable with the hosts tones. That “lump” you refer to, warming the subs bench is the one that I feel most sorry for. He puts in all the effort and gets very little in return. Having said all that if the 3.5 million was put towards the health system instead I wouldn’t have a problem with it given the Shyte we’re currently in. As is the case with our sport, you really only find out who the true leaders are when the shyte hits the fan. the same applies to politics…time for the real leaders to stand up!

  3. I was a supporter of paying the grants to the players last year and still think the idea has merit but it’s difficult to see how it could be given any kind of priority given the constraints the public finances are now under. I don’t think the wider public (or, indeed, the Government) have yet fully grasped the extent of the current problems with the public finances and the scale of the cutbacks that will need to be implemented over the coming few years (further tax rises would be complete economic suicide at this stage). Given this environment, it’s very difficult to justify using any public funds to pay grants to inter-county players and with the position on the public finances unlikely to stabilise, let alone improve, this side of 2012, these payments could, I think, be off the table for some time.

  4. Willie Joe, I couldnt agree with you more in your last comment there…..

    If you think of it as any succesful company up and down the length and breadth of Ireland, when times are tough the first things to cut back on are the “nice to haves”…the long boozey lunches, the purchase of the odd racehorse here and there etc etc….I think people would rather see cutback on teh players grants rather than cutbacks in, as Ted put it sublimely, our “shyte of a health service”!

    Following on from that point, I wonder are any club GAA teams getting a little call from their sponsors (the local butcher/pub etc down the road maybe) to say they cannot afford to throw them a few Euro any more??

  5. Hello Ted, we wont fall out, you put in good stuff. I suppose my way of looking at it is that anybody on a county panel is privleged anyway to be considered amongst that counties elite. I have to say I dont agree with rewarding some fella just because he is down the panel putting in the training. I prefer the old way, a panel with a cut off point of 21 would promote real competition for places. The bigger the panel (apart from kerry and tyrone) the softer the focus. By all means have thirty or thirty plus panel for training but come the big day cut it to 21, then we would see real competition. for places. There are guys on the Mayo panel for the last eight years without ever breaking through. Conversly there are guys in Mayo (good lads) who never get a smell of the panel. We had the daft situation last season where the number thirty jersey in Mayo was kept vacant over I would imagine those very same grants. that grant cost some other lad a chance to be part of the squad .

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