By Daragh Ó Conchúir
THE President of the Camogie Association, Catherine Neary has described the draft Memorandum of Understanding that has been drawn up between the Camogie Association and the GAA as "the best way to move our games forward."
If given the green light, the document would be a historic one, formalising the link between the organisations and offering clear guidelines towards achieving integration.
The draft, which applies to the organisations at national level only, is subject to approval by Central Councils of both the Camogie Association and the GAA.
The proposal to approve the memorandum will be discussed by the Central Council of the Camogie Association on Wednesday March 14th, and by the GAA on Saturday, March 24th.
A separate MOU has also been signed between the LGFA and the GAA, with the Central Council of the LGFA to discuss that on March 26th.
The proposed memorandums seek to establish stronger links between the three organisations and are the result of more than six months of discussions.
"This is the first time we have had a written agreement that shows the intent of the organisations, and what we want to do now is more it forward" said Neary. "It formalises what we have been talking about and it's also transparent. Everyone can see what is involved.
"Last year, the three associations signed off on the One Club model, giving clubs that wanted to do that a guide for doing do so.
"We have been doing a lot of work on drawing up a Memorandum of Understanding and it gives us a roadmap now for the future. We will be able to sit on each other's Central Councils and various committees.
"We both have resources that are useful to each other, we are both doing a lot of things that are similar. Why wouldn't we want to maximise those resources for our shared visions and goals? We are all part of the Gaelic games family and this is the best way to move our games forward.
"In our point of view, it is a very positive development and if approved, will give us access to all the expertise the GAA has in terms of coaching, governance, commercial, referees and so on. And we can bring another viewpoint and skills in those areas to the GAA. It is very exciting."
While the proposals in these memorandums aim to strengthen the links within the family of Gaelic Games at national level only, they also commit the three organisations to exploring a framework for further integration at provincial, county and club level.
The memorandums reflect the shared vision of the three organisations for a new overall organisational model within which the games, ideals and aspiration of all three Associations are equally developed and promoted. They recognise areas of common interest and give the Camogie Association and the LGFA representation on GAA committees, and vice versa.
The memorandums have been drafted to a similar template but differ in that they reflect the different stages that the organisations have reached in discussions on developing a new relationship.