There was an article in last Saturday’s Examiner asking each of the five Presidential candidates five questions - one was on ‘equalisation of funding’. Their answers are below … Only one candidate refers to transparency and accountability.
Equalisation of funding to ensure more of a level playing field between the haves and have nots has proven difficult — how would you go about it?
A priority for me is the provision of additional funding to the less resourced counties. Further, I commit to achieving a better balance in the distribution of resources by pursuing the process already begun in a staged progression of reallocation of Games Development funding. As Chairman of the National Games Development Committee, I have helped to initiate a review of personnel and structures. This review is ongoing and the resultant report will be of great assistance in determining both needs and capacities together with achieving balance and strategic investment going forward.
Most of our funding is going into coaching and games, which is where it should go and I want to see that continue in a manner that is well managed and shows good results. The reality is that some counties, particularly with large populations, have greater access to funding and commercial sponsorship although they would have greater competition from other sports. We have to strike a balance between funding growth and development in urban areas and ensuring survival and new ways of development in rural heartlands. I would do this by targeting funding for specific projects where clear benefits can be identified and defining clear criteria for agreeing priority areas for funding.
It is clear that there are differences in the income streams of counties and the matter needs addressing. The answer lies in how we spend our money. We cannot simply divide up the money, distribute it and then walk away. We need to look at what is needed in every county in terms of coaching development, facilities, games promotion, and any other relevant factors. We need to clearly identify any shortcomings or lacunas before we set about addressing them and we need to address them in a structured and sustainable way. We also need to ensure maximum transparency and accountability for any such expenditure.
Dublin has agreed to a cut in its €1 million annual grant to develop the Association in the county. One can’t but admire what’s been achieved in terms of promoting and progressing the Association in our capital city and it’s been a real success story. The GAA has achieved a necessary return on that investment. However, now it’s time to better resource other counties and bring them to a position where they can compete with Dublin. A more targeted approach to the division of funding commensurate with a county’s ability to raise its own funding and sponsorship is required.
The Association at national level has a large earning capacity. Regrettably, the earning capacity of individual counties is not equal by virtue of their size and their success. Distribution of national funds in relation to this anomaly must be addressed and reviewed. The first step in this process would be to have a collective forum with the Chairman, Secretaries and Treasurers of each county to ascertain, evaluate and indeed value each individual county’ needs and requirements.