A top GAA official has called on clubs not to panic in the light of the Irish government’s decision to cut all capital sports grants for this year.
“I’m confident that we’ll get through this, but we’ll have to take stock of where we are, said Gene Duffy, chairman of the GAA’s national finance committee.
“I believe the local communities of clubs who are developing will rally around as we’re an especially strong organisation at grassroots level. We have to be especially prudent with those projects that we are going ahead with. Obviously some will have to be shelved due to the lack of funding, but the GAA will still put quite a bit back into the clubs and county boards.
“This year alone, the association plans to allocate €3million in grant aid for development work, an increase on previous years.
“I want to stress that development work in the GAA won’t stop, but we will have to be more prudent.
Duffy, a former chairman of the Armagh county board, also revealed that county board costs have spiralled dangerously in recent years and said it was crucial his committee discussed the latest developments.
“We met with all the county treasurers last week. It was as much to do with passing on advice and sharing information as anything else. All clubs are aware of the predicament we’re in and if they are in the process of planning major projects they shouldn’t panic, as we’re still in the business of providing funding.”
The sports capital programme, drawn mainly from the National Lottery, allocates funding towards the provision of sports facilities and has benefited clubs across the country over the last decade.
Over €50 million was allocated for 685 development projects last year, but the Irish sports minister, Martin Cullen, has confirmed no funds are available in 2009.
The GAA is determined to continue its grants although many hard-pressed clubs would also have been counting on some assistance from the lottery.