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GAA must explain GAAGO gameplan at Oireachtas – Lombard

13th May 2024 - Senator Tim Lombard

The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) needs to explain what can be done to ensure more people see hurling and football matches on free to air TV, a Fine Gael Senator has said.

Senator Tim Lombard said he was disappointed to hear that GAA President Jarlath Burns may not come before the Seanad to discuss the amateur organisation’s position in relation to their commercial deals, and hurling and football matches on TV.

Speaking on Today with CB, Mr Burns said he was ‘not minded to do that this year’.

In response, Senator Lombard said he was deeply disappointed to hear the latest development.

“It’s surprising to me that Jarlath Burns, the President of the GAA, declared on the Claire Byrne Show this morning that he won’t come before the committee.

“At a time when transparency is crucial, the GAA should be using the opportunity to explain their decisions, not dodging important discussions. They should appear before the Seanad Committee on Parliamentary Privileges and Oversight.

“The GAA has to remember its roots—it’s not about extracting revenue by any means; it’s about ensuring the long-term success of the game and the community it builds.”

Senator Lombard warned the GAA could further undermine their games by pushing exclusive subscription models further on loyal fans.

“The GAA stand to be the real losers in pursuing this model.

“They talk a big game about promoting the sport, but erecting financial barriers between the GAA and its staunchest supporters and volunteers is not just poor play—it’s pushing loyal fans of all ages to the sidelines.

“Commercial revenues for the GAA have plummeted from €27.17 million in 2022 to €21.95 million in 2023—a staggering €5.2 million drop.

“GAAGO has been unable to make up the deficit and puts Croke Park completely out of sync with grassroot supporters.

“The GAA’s financial tactics are clearly not up to scratch, and it is only right they explain their gameplan.

“The matches themselves are the GAA’s best product, and the most recent last Saturday night between Cork and Limerick should have been one to remember for decades to come– but it won’t be by the many who couldn’t watch it.” Senator Lombard concluded.


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