GAA chief hits out at GPA protests

February 09, 2024

Ard Stiurthoir Tom Ryan ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

GAA director-general Tom Ryan has criticised the GPA for last summer’s protests over player charters for the LGFA and Camogie Association.

The protests, which included unfurling a "#UnitedForEquality" banner before the Kerry v Derry All-Ireland SFC semi-final in support of the female players, were eventually ended after agreement was reached with the GPA.

Writing in his annual report, Ryan stated: "I respect completely - indeed the responsibility - of the GPA to advocate for all of its members, including women playing inter-county football and camogie. I also believe - fervently so - as mentioned elsewhere in this report and in corresponding dispatches in previous years, that the future of Gaelic games lies in a single organisation governing all of our codes.

"However, it was disappointing to see during the year that player welfare for female players was allowed to be conflated with the responsibilities of the GAA and that the GPA chose to stage protests at some of our games to seek to influence the Ladies Associations with regards to charters for their codes.

"Rightly or wrongly, the GAA in 2024 does not govern ladies football and camogie. We do, of course, strive to maintain good relations with all parties and to be a positive influence where possible, but the ultimate responsibility in these matters is not ours.

"A single organisation will in time emerge, but until then it does a disservice to both of our sister organisations to seek to usurp them and involve the GAA in their issues.

"My fears here are for the integration process itself and I hope that unwitting damage has not been done to that project. We need to make sure that momentum towards integration is not undermined."

Elsewhere in his report, the Carlow native said he supports adopting "a more liberal attitude" to making county grounds available to other sports.

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