GAA Football

GAA has "no specific plans" for dealing with Brexit

30 January 2019; A detailed view of a section about Brexit at the launch of the Publication of the Director General’s Annual Report at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile *** NO REPRODUCTION FEE ***
Cahair O'Kane at Croke Park

THE GAA has “no specific plans” to deal with Brexit, including the chaos of a potential hard exit from the EU, but says any financial cost will fall on Croke Park and not its members.

Fears have risen in recent days that the UK’s decision to leave the customs union may come without any agreement between the parties, which could potentially lead to the return of a hard border in Ireland.

It could cause particular issues for counties and clubs in areas surrounding the border.

The GAA’s director of communications, Alan Milton, told The Irish News last year that the organisation would not leave the six counties ‘marooned’ in any event.

Speaking at the unveiling of his first annual report as director general yesterday, Tom Ryan said there would undoubtedly be negative implications for the GAA, but that nobody was sure exactly what Brexit will entail.

“It is at the forefront of our thoughts, and probably more so in recent months when they were always been a bit of an assumption on everyone’s part that it will work out and a solution will be found. That has become a little more worrying, recently.

“But it’s very, very difficult to plan practically for something when you really don’t know what the shape of it is going to be. We’re two months away from it and we still don’t know.

“It would have a few negative implications for us. On the surface of it, there’s the whole thing about currencies and the fact that we operate in both jurisdictions and in both currencies - even admission prices, grants, borrowings and so on, across both currencies.

“So, if there are fluctuations there, that will be a problem. But to be honest we’ll manage that. The way we are structured, any risk associated with currency belongs in here [Croke Park].

“So, that wouldn’t or shouldn’t, to the extent that I can envisage it, impact on counties or clubs. The costs of that would fall in here.

“But that’s really, really secondary. The biggest concern would be just the day-to-day operation of counties and clubs in the border region, both sides of the border.

“How people will get to go to matches; how people will get to go to training; the negative impact that it would have on communities and the knock-on effect that it would have for the GAA in those communities, if they were to suffer.

“So, it’s something that I am concerned about. But in terms of a specific plan to counter it, we don’t have one.”

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