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  • "It's A Tricky One" - GAA Say They Will Tackle The Issue Of Dublin Funding In Next Few Years

"It's A Tricky One" - GAA Say They Will Tackle The Issue Of Dublin Funding In Next Few Years

"It's A Tricky One" - GAA Say They Will Tackle The Issue Of Dublin Funding In Next Few Years
By Conor Neville Updated
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The thorny issue of Dublin GAA funding is occupying the thoughts of GAA top brass and their Director of Finance Tom Ryan.

Shortly after Dublin claimed their 4th All-Ireland title in six years last October, heads were turned by the revelation that the county had been receiving 47% of all development funding.

Sport Scientist Shane Mangan tweeted out this rather alarming graphic, detailing how much development money each county receives per registered player.

Dublin received a staggering €274.70 per player. To place this in perspective, the next most generously funded county was Fermanagh, who received €68.17. At the lower end of the scale, the two biggest dual counties, Cork and Galway, received the smallest amount of funding per player, getting €15.90 and €15.00 respectively.

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Concerned neutrals/sore losers (depending on your perspective) fixated on the stat and began frantically demanding an explanation.

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At the tremendously unenlightening Oireachtas Committee 'inquisition' of Pauric Duffy, John Delaney and Philip Browne last month, the GAA Director General traced the heavy investment in Dublin funding back to the government of Bertie Ahern, himself a vocal and highly visible Dublin fan.

In that era, the GAA received funding from the government on the understanding that this money would be used to develop Gaelic football and hurling in the capital.

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(Ironically, the Dubs endured a long barren era under Bertie's Premiership. For whatever reason - coincidence, most likely - Dublin only ever win All-Irelands under Fine Gael Taoisigh, at least going back to the 1970s. Enjoy that bit of useless information.)

Duffy indicated that the GAA were evaluating the current funding arrangements. Today, the Finance Director Tom Ryan said that this situation will not persist for the next few years.

However, he praised Dublin GAA for using the money expertly. He was vague but said the GAA's ambition would be to grow the other counties. Ultimately, this would be impossible in the short term without lessening Dublin's funding, to some degree.

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It’s a tricky one and it’s one that I don’t mind admitting, we’ve tried to give a fair bit of thought to over the course of the year. The short answer is no it won’t persist over the course of the next few years. There’s not going to be a revolutionary change to it. We’ll change it in evolutionary terms rather than in one fell swoop.

Under Dublin, the first thing is to say that the money is being well spent. I’d be far more uncomfortable sitting here if that level of investment wasn’t being put to good use and I do understand the dynamic when people look at on-field results, then look at the amount of funding. I’m not sure the degree to which there’s a 100 per cent correlation but it would be naive to assume that there’s not some degree of correlation.

What we’ll try to do, we’ll try to grow the other counties. If you look at last year’s one, I think you’ll see we have tried to do that. We have achieved that to a certain degree and we’ll try and do that next year.

To be honest in terms of bridging the gap, it won’t be possible to do that without some degree of diminution in Dublin’s funding and there will be a modest kind of re-calibration of that in 2017.

Re-calibration or no re-calibration, in 2017, Dublin will go in search of the first three-in-a-row since Kerry achieved the feat in 1986. They haven't lost a league or championship match since 1st March 2015. Last week, they won the O'Byrne Cup while their 2016 All-Ireland squad was in Jamaica.

Read more: It Seems We've Been Having The Same Conversations About Dublin GAA Longer Than Many Realise

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