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GAA Director General report takes aim after criticism of major calls

By Declan Bogue

Paraic Duffy, Director-General of the GAA, has strongly defended the Association in his annual report against recent criticisms that the body is too concerned with financial deals.

"As these commentators well know, the GAA is a not-for-profit organisation that generates revenue uniquely in order to fund the Association's activities," said Duffy.

"Some of these commentators seem to consider themselves better, purer GAA members than the rest of us, but it's easy to act the purist when one has only to talk, as opposed to taking decisions in the real world, where the calls on our revenue from our units are enormous and unending."

He also explained the thinking behind the hosting of an American football college game at Croke Park, which forced the All-Ireland semi-final replay between Mayo and Kerry to be moved to Limerick.

"The strategy of bringing an American football game to Croke Park arose from the necessity to widen our funding base," the former schoolteacher said.

"I refute the claim that the American football game was part of a simple money-making exercise for the sake of pure financial gain. We think only in terms of generating income that will go back out to our clubs and counties, and that will help us fund projects already decided on."

On the subject of the cancelled Garth Brooks concerts, he added: "Croke Park and the GAA felt let down. Most people who followed the Garth Brooks affair found the decision to refuse a licence for five concerts incomprehensible. And they were right."

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