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Congress turkeys will find it hard to vote in favour of Christmas

By Declan Bogue

It's Congress this weekend. Yeah, caught you by surprise too.

There are only two meaningful occurrences ahead - the succession of John Horan to GAA President, and a motion calling for the votes at Congress to be recorded so that everyone can see how the delegates voted.

There is a belief held by some that everyone has a voice in what happens at Congress, that the county board are swift in getting out proposals so that they can be debated in clubrooms up and down the country, then they can send their club delegates to the county board meeting to reflect their feelings, with the overall mood of the county then put forward when the county delegates are mandated to vote in certain ways.

Truth is, not all county boards even debate the motions themselves, let alone do clubs have time or the inclination to do so. You bring up Congress Motions at your peril in a club when volunteers are only after putting children to bed, have other meetings to get to that night, and have forgotten to bring their membership money. Again.

I'll put it this way - it will be the last monthly meeting that a good few attend.

And that's why supposedly divisive issues such as the arrangement and contracts signed between the GAA and Sky TV are a media construct. For the most part, people do not care. They have enough going on in their lives.

Another problem is that Congress, derided as a talking shop by some impatient members of the fourth estate, is the place where a county board delegate can have his or her point of view shifted with a concise argument, the use of skilled debate, evidence and examples.

On the flipside, it is also the place where people can fall victim to a herd mentality, or be 'got at' to change their point of view when the canvassing really gets going at the Friday night socialising.

One question remains about all of this. And that is that if this motion was to pass, then what indeed would be the very point of Congress?

The human touch would be utterly dispensed with, county secretaries sending in their vote through email, saving a whole load of money, with the emails later made public to ensure utter transparency.

So who, do you think in that room, enjoying their weekend and the chance to socialise among like-minded individuals, will think this is a good idea?

Loathe as we are to dig up a tired metaphor, there can be no sharper example of a turkey voting for Christmas than that of a county board delegate deciding to make their role obsolete.

To them, this week is their All-Ireland final. And there's nothing wrong with that either.

And that, as well meaning as the motion is, is the very reason it will perish.

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