Northern Ireland

GAA faces fresh pressure over ticket policy

Campaigners opposed to the GAA's ticketing policy outside Healy Park in Omagh
Campaigners opposed to the GAA's ticketing policy outside Healy Park in Omagh Campaigners opposed to the GAA's ticketing policy outside Healy Park in Omagh

The GAA has come under fresh pressure to scrap its no-cash policy for entry to games.

David Honeyford, Alliance MLA and party spokesman on sports, says he has written to the Ulster Council.

The son of a Presbyterian minister, Mr Honeyford is a development officer with St Joseph’s GAC Glenavy in Co Antrim.

Under a contentious new policy brought in by Croke Park officials last year, tickets for any GAA game can now only be bought online in advance with no facilities provided to pay by cash or card at the turnstile.

The Irish News revealed last week that Age NI, which campaigns on behalf of the elderly, recently wrote to the Ulster Council outlining its concerns over the policy.

Co Derry native Nodlaig Ní Bhrollaigh is leading a campaign opposing the current ticket policy.

Last Sunday campaigners held a protest outside Healy Park in Omagh ahead of the national league clash between Tyrone and Donegal.

Mr Honeyford said the GAA is an inclusive organisation.

“The GAA is inclusive, and my background coming in shows how inclusive, how welcoming the GAA is as an organisation,” he said.

“You don’t ever want to lose that in any aspect, whether that’s a county match or whether that’s a local club game.”

He said the current stalemate can be easily fixed.

“And there’s an easy solution and Ulster Rugby run it at Ravenhill, where I am also a season ticket holder, they kind of run both,” he said.

“You have the online ticket sales but you have one counter for cash sales at the ground – that seems like a viable, feasible thing.”

His comments came as Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said “decisions on ticketing are ultimately a matter for the organisations concerned, but I do think there should be some provision for cash”.

Mr Varadkar was responding to a question in the Dáil from Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín.

The Meath TD later said: “The GAA have introduced of policy of getting rid of cash at GAA matches.

“This is the wrong decision. It means that many people, especially older people who cannot buy GAA tickets online or use technology, are in effect banned from


Meanwhile, a well-known figure in Antrim GAA has urged the association to allow fans to pay at the gate.

Lámh Dhearg stalwart Jim Herron, a former club, player, manager and chairman, revealed that he has fallen victim to the contentious no-cash policy while attempting to pay at

the gate for a game involving his own club.

He explained that while he eventually gained entry with cash, “it wasn’t a nice experience and I would hate to think that some people are staying away from our games because they are put off by this cashless system”.

“I was at the All-Ireland Club finals in Croke Park where cash was accepted in the shop, museum, food stands and for the official match programme,” he said.

“The same choice should be available to patrons at the gate.”

He said the GAA should change its policy.

“It’s evident that many GAA supporters still use cash and the GAA should provide the very same option for the purchase of match day tickets.”

The GAA has been contacted for comment.