Jarlath Burns: Who is the new GAA President?

We look at the journey of the new GAA Uachtarán from Silverbridge to Croke Park

Jarlath Burns began his three-year term as GAA president at Saturday's annual Congress in Newry. Picture by Sportsfile
GAA Congress Jarlath Burns began his three-year term as GAA president at Saturday's annual Congress in Newry. Picture by Sportsfile (SPORTSFILE)

FORMER Armagh captain Jarlath Burns has been elected as the GAA president (Uachtarán) for the next three years.

The midfielder, who captained Armagh has had a long career in Gaelic games, first as a player and now in administrative roles from club to the highest position in the GAA.

From Armagh player to St Paul’s School, Bessbrook principal to GAA President

Jarlath Burns started his GAA career as a footballer for Silverbridge, making his Armagh inter-county football debut in 1987.

He also won the Sigerson Cup with St Mary’s College, which was the first time the school had won it.

He led Armagh to an Ulster SFC title in 1999, retiring following that success thus missing out on the All-Ireland SFC win in 2002.

A year after leading Armagh to Ulster glory, then-president Sean McCague appointed him chair of the inaugural players’ committee in 2000, kickstarting his career in GAA administration.

He also took on the chairman’s role on the 125th GAA anniversary committee in 2009 and Scór Naisiúnta.

He has served as Armagh’s Central Council delegate as well as sitting on the GAA’s medical and scientific committee and pitch presentation group, and the standing committee on playing rules.

That was all balanced with his career in education. Burns was appointment as principal of St Paul’s High School, Bessbrook in 2013 while maintaining an unwavering commitment to the club and community in Silverbridge.

Burns ran for GAA President in 2020 but was beaten to the position by Larry McCarthy.

Following his appointment, he has urged the UK government to provide “certainty” around the future of Casement Park – admitting he is surprised they have yet to publicly confirm its funding commitment.

Another issue that Burns is passionate about is the GAA’s full integration with camogie and ladies’ football.

Jarlath Burns and the Orange Order

In February 2023, on an episode of the BBC’s The GAA Social podcast, Burns said that the Orange Order had been in St Paul’s, Bessbrook to talk to the children and to teach the pupils about unionism.

He said: “I’ve the Orange Order in our school all the time talking to our young people to get them to understand what that is about. What parading is about, what walking to give witness to their sincere belief in the reformed faith is about.”

Having said that he had an interest in British, Orange and unionist culture, Burns said: “If we show in our organisation that we have sympathy and an understanding for the culture of the Protestant people in Northern Ireland, maybe when we ask them to respect our culture, they will.”

What age is Jarlath Burns?

Jarlath Burns is 56 years old

How many children does Jarlath Burns have?

Mr Burns has five children; Megan, married to Wexford hurler Diarmuid O’Keefe, Fionnan, current Armagh footballer Jarlath Óg, Conall and Ellen.

When did Jarlath Burns become president?

Jarlath Burns took up the office of GAA President at Canal Court Hotel in Newry on Saturday, February 24, at the Annual GAA Congress.

In his inaugural speech, he vowed to tackle the issue of brown envelope under-the-table payments in the association that undermines the GAA’s amateur ethos.

Where does Jarlath Burns live?

Jarlath Burns lives in Mullaghbawn, Co Armagh, despite being a devout Silverbridge club man.