Dublin GAA CEO Takes Issue With Prime Time Report

Dublin GAA CEO Takes Issue With Prime Time Report

In his annual report, Dublin GAA CEO John Costello has taken issue with a feature on RTÉ's Prime Time show.

On September 17th, three days after Dublin beat Kerry in an All-Ireland final replay, Prime Time aired a report asking if Dublin have an unfair financial advantage over other counties.

In a 46-page document published ahead of the Dublin county board convention, Costello called it a "strange editorial choice" to air the report so soon after the historic win.

"Dublin football teams have ‘raised the passions’ of supporters, commentators and viewers for a long time," writes Costello.

"There is just something about that jersey that creates lively debate! The success of the team of the 1970s brought with it some derision. The more things change…

"During the lull years post-1995 until 2011 the footballers of the capital were often held up for ridicule. Pre-championship debate would compare them to the English soccer team and the fans likewise. Basically Dublin were ‘fair game’. Sometimes things don’t stay the same…


"We are, unfortunately, becoming familiar with the increasingly twisted manner of public discourse and I genuinely believe that a large part of the contorted debate about funding for Dublin falls into this category.

"Conflating different elements and ignoring other aspects of how Gaelic games in the county are promoted and developed through the club network has shaped the subtext for those who wish to discredit and diminish the achievements of the county senior football squad and management.

"However, though the issue of funding for games development in Dublin was discussed in detail on the Sunday Game during the summer, I was somewhat shocked when, with the dust not even settled on our historic All-Ireland football success, RTÉ’s flagship investigative programme Prime Time included the debate as an ‘issue’ worth covering.

"Without moderation, what happens on social media where attention and populist outrage are craved is largely beyond our control and unworthy in many instances of rational debate. However, one would – and should – expect different and higher standards to apply to our national broadcaster and to a programme of the calibre of Prime Time. Perhaps not. By any reasonable and objective assessment, it was a strange editorial choice so quick after the historic five in-a-row victory.

"Most of those approached by the programme to discuss the issue – many of whom were still celebrating the five-in-a-row success – were unhappy with Prime Time contriving to make a cause célebre of Dublin’s success.


"Let’s be clear when perhaps their editorial team were not so clear. Prime Time essentially used how the GAA funds a team of Games Promotion Officers to encourage, coach and support young children to play Gaelic games through their primary schools and GAA club nurseries, in the most densely populated region in the country to raise questions with regard to the achievements of our senior football team.

"As they say you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts."

Costello also called for the government to address the lack of land which is available for clubs in the capital to develop GAA pitches.

Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

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