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Down official warns of burden on volunteers

By John Campbell

A leading Ulster official harbours concerns that the GAA is in grave danger of losing the volunteers who are the very lifeblood of the sport because of what he feels are the exorbitant demands being placed on them.

Down secretary Sean Og McAteer, one of the most respected officers in the Association, believes that those who commit to the GAA as non-players are being overburdened and contends that burn-out of another form will have serious implications.

In his annual report, McAteer pulls no punches in addressing what he feels is a growing problem "that will lead us to a situation where we run out of people to look after our teams."

A desire to elicit too much from GAA personnel, McAteer insists, carries the level of expectancy beyond the boundaries of normality.

"We are no longer satisfied to get a man or woman to do one job we have identified for them but rather we want them to take on another two, three or four jobs and we want them all done to the top standard," blasts McAteer.

"This is now what has become the problem of expectancy – the more people do then the more others come to expect until it all comes crashing down."

His observations are already being taken on board in the province given that he is in essence merely articulating what are the private views of many within the GAA.

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