Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 30 September 2014

McAnallen's exit shocks council

The decision by Donal McAnallen to step down as secretary of the Higher Education Council has sent shock waves through the GAA.

McAnallen now becomes the latest high-profile official to resign his position in protest at Central Council's approval of the player grants scheme.

Brother of the late Tyrone star Cormac, Donal said he is disillusioned with the decision which will see €3.5m being paid out annually to inter-county players.

"Up until now I kept involved because I got a sense of fulfilment from doing that work, as I thought the association served a greater good in Irish life, and I thought everyone was working towards the same ends," he said.

"But since the weekend, I realised that the Association is changing direction altogether. Suddenly I knew I had lost interest in doing the voluntary work if the sport ceases to be for sport's sake.

"Many GAA volunteers, including some of my fellow committee members, have made similar sacrifices. Now I wonder whether it was all worthwhile. At least I can concentrate on other things from here on. I have no income at present and I'm in debt. My dedication to GAA committee work has cost me too much time, effort, stress, and my health at times also."

His decision to leave his post comes just four days after the resignation of fellow Red Hands man Mark Conway, who was secretary of Club Tyrone.

Conway has been one of the most outspoken opponents of the grants for county players and was a prime mover behind the meeting held in Toome last week when hundreds of people convened to express their dissatisfaction with the direction they feel the GAA is taking.

It would appear, too, that the anti-grant lobby has not been silenced as plans have apparently been finalised for a further meeting at the Cavan Crystal Hotel on Wednesday next (7.30). It is expected that many who believe the GAA should not have sanctioned the grants will again make their voices heard at this meeting.

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