GAA is based on volunteerism – so no manager should expect payment except for expenses

I liked Dick Clerkin’s insightful article on paying inter-county GAA managers (“County Managers Must Be Paid Professionals – No Longer Black Market”, Irish Independent, 20 September).

ick is a very convincing plea for professional inter-county management and coaches. I want to offer an opposite perspective.

The GAA is based on volunteerism, rooted in love for the club and county. This is where we all belong.

Volunteering is the lifeblood of the GAA. It’s wonderful to see the loyalty and passion members have for their own club. The majority of GAA players and members are “one club” loyalists who give their all for the community.

Clubs are run by dedicated volunteers who devote endless hours to tasks that by and large go unannounced – lining the pitch, stewarding, fundraising, etc.

Likewise, umpires, linesmen and umpires show up week in and week out to ensure matches can be played nationwide.

Managers and team leaders at all levels devote a significant amount of their free time to preparing teams. All GAA members share an innate love of Gaelic games and Irish culture.

I admire Dick Clerkin’s self-expressed commitment to his homeland and his astute conclusion that ‘it is the native pursuits that yield the greatest rewards’.

These feelings effectively express what the GAA is all about.

When professionalism in any form replaces the GAA’s amateur ethos and volunteerism, a wonderful association is robbed of its heart and soul. As professional inter-county managers are introduced, a monetary reward as opposed to “love of the jersey” will quickly permeate all levels of the GAA.

Each district has its own management and coaching expertise at all levels capable of leading its district and club teams. Managing your club or district is a unique privilege. No manager or coach should expect or demand payment in excess of legitimate personal expenses.

Paying managers and coaches either on professional pay or through the “black market” is alien to the GAA’s mission.

Billy Ryle

Tralee, Co Kerry

The North’s sectarian divisions still permeate its society

According to census results, there are more Catholics than Protestants in Northern Ireland.

I wonder why we stick to these numbers when very few are practicing their faith now. Is it because one cohort is nationalistic and on the rise?

It unfortunately reminds me of the past during the riots when we kept hearing the news that a Catholic or a Protestant was shot or killed. While relevant, it was always divisive. Nothing seems to change.

Aidan Roddy

Cabinet, Dublin

Alternative opinions on abortion need to be aired

As John F. Higgins (Irish Independent, Letters, 20 September) pointed out that “the housing crisis is now leading to a population emergency”. “Births are being postponed” and although our fertility rate fell to 1.70 in 2019, our government has introduced free birth control and free abortions.

While there is much debate about how future pensions will be paid, this problem will only get worse with fewer births.

Tony Curran (“Women with unplanned pregnancies need more help”, Irish IndependentLetters, 21 September) referred to “an impressive turnout at the March for Life in Dublin”.

This in itself was very welcome, as the media almost completely ignored this gathering, ironically arranged to highlight the lack of coverage of the review of abortion legislation. It appears that RTÉ’s nine o’clock news allotted 23 seconds to this article.

Mr Curran said “the government needs to start giving serious support to women in unplanned pregnancies to ensure that a woman never feels she has no choice but to proceed with an abortion”.

I wonder how many know that the government does not support an alternative to abortion. Only pro-life groups with voluntary donations do this.

While it is to be welcomed that these letters were made public, it is beyond disappointing that our media is not interested in ensuring that scrutiny of our abortion legislation is properly conducted. This is certainly not happening at the moment.

Mary Steward

Ardeskin, Donegal town

Norma Foley’s lack of planning hurts children

Education Secretary Norma Foley told RTÉ prime time this week she is in talks with Public Expenditure Secretary Michael
McGrath on funding more bus seats for children. This increase in demand was predictable from the announcement of free school transport in July.

Minister Foley opens schools and applauds Green Flags for environmental action, but leaves scores of parents wasting fuel in family cars. Your use of words such as “beneficiaries” and “concessionaries” during the prime time Program is dubious. These are children, not “individuals” – another word she uses to refer to school children.

These are children whose access to school is hampered by this unnecessary burden on them and their families.

Our current cohort of school attendees has endured more than their parents and grandparents with six months of cumulative school building closures during the pandemic.

They face another winter sitting in cold, inadequately ventilated classrooms and now Minister Foley can’t even take them to school.

Education is a fundamental right for everyone. If access to education is made more difficult, disadvantages arise. Minister Foley created this disadvantage through a lack of planning.

Neasa Ni Lionaird

Killarney, County Kerry

Despite his pen episode, give Charles compassion

Reading Roslyn Dee’s colorful observations on King Charles (“We’re all getting royally angrier, so let’s calm down,” Irish IndependentSeptember 22) and his pen episode, I felt a pang of sadness.

I remember when my mother “passed” and went to a better place. I didn’t realize the traumatic effect it had on me until long afterwards.

Despite his privileged position, let us show him sympathy and compassion. I’m not sure how I would have coped in similar circumstances.

Gerry Murphy

Killester, Dublin 5

Questions remain about the proposed pension structure

It will be interesting to hear and see voters being informed about the proposed options for deferring retirement for up to four years (ages 66-70).

The costs in these four years amount to a loss of income of 57,000 euros for the deferred pensioner.

The increase of €60 per week at the maximum rate is €13,000 in the period from 71 to 75 years.

It would take another 13 years to recover the balance of the pension paid to the pensioner.

Two questions are unanswered. First, why does the pensioner who defers his retirement receive no benefits until age 87/88? Second, how will the estate of a pensioner who dies between the ages of 66 and 87 be compensated by the state for deferring their pension?

Paul Coughlan

Ballygawley, Co. Sligo

Truss government has no ‘special relationship’

Referring to Rozina Sabur’s article (“White House suspends use of term ‘special relationship’ with Britain”, Irish IndependentSeptember 22), she says Liz Truss isn’t too keen on the term.

However, if she insists on tearing up an international agreement, namely the Northern Ireland Protocol, one could say she will not have a “special relationship” with that country either.

Leo Gormley

Dundalk, Co. Louth

The coalition is unrealistic when it comes to taxation

To read that neither Fine Gael nor Fianna Fáil have filed any filings with the Taxation and Welfare Commission, but have nonetheless yelled that the filings came from Sinn Féin types, clearly shows how far these two parties are from reality .

Declan Foley

Melbourne, Australia GAA is based on volunteerism – so no manager should expect payment except for expenses

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