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28th Jul 2018

GAA President John Horan says government intervention in Liam Miller charity match row was “unhelpful”

Dave Hanratty

GAA Liam Miller John Horan

Despite a seeming resolution, the controversial debate continues to rage.

On Saturday afternoon, it was finally officially confirmed that the upcoming Liam Miller tribute match will take place at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Tuesday 25 September.

A joint statement released by the GAA and the Organising Committee of the match noted:

“The GAA would like to wish the family of Liam Miller and the organisers every success in their efforts.

“The Committee of the Liam Miller Tribute Match would like to thank the GAA for their support with this event.”

The announcement followed a storm of debate and criticism after it appeared that the GAA initially would refuse moving the game from Turners Cross to the significantly larger venue.

A compromise has been reached, though one that hasn’t left everyone pleased.

In conversation with Marty Morrissey on Saturday for RTÉ News, GAA President John Horan hit out at government ministers and spokespeople who gave his organisation “a bit of a bashing” with regards to the charity match row.

Horan was asked if he was disappointed specifically by government intervention in regards to the debate.

“I felt it was unhelpful,” he admitted.

“I did speak in a private manner with a senior government minister last weekend and he did say that he wasn’t going to [contribute to the debate] and in fairness to him, he stuck to his word, he didn’t get involved with the debate on the matter.

“However, other ministers did see fit to give us a bit of a bashing but I think we’re entitled to speak our side of the story to them, and that we will do, and we will do it when things calm down, and it’ll be shortly,” added Horan.

Earlier, Morrissey posited the idea that with government funding helping to construct GAA venues, the organisation may now have to open its doors generally to special events and fundraisers.

“I’m sorry, Marty, but the intervention of some government spokespersons this week in regard to the funding to the GAA as an organisation I would have to say was not in any way helpful to the situation,” Horan argued.

“I think that is a debate that the GAA as an organisation and the government need to have in terms of the funding.

“People have to appreciate the contribution the GAA makes to this country, to its fabric, and the amount of voluntary work and genuine GAA-raised money that goes into providing facilities that are used throughout this community and form a huge glue and fabric to Irish society.

Horan noted that his organisation will be sitting down with the government amidst the need for “an honest and a frank conversation” regarding the contentious issue.