Seantor Daly welcomes new GAA president

I congratulate Mr. Horan and thank his wife, Paula, and Jack and Liam, his sons, for their role in his success. It required a lot of sacrifice, not only from Mr. Horan but from the family too. I thank them and acknowledge them for their service and their sacrifice. I also congratulate Mr. Horan on being the first genuine Dub to be president of the GAA. As coincidence would have it, Mickey Ned O’Sullivan was in Leinster House today. He was the captain of the all-Ireland winning Kerry team of 1975, and he has a distinction just like Mr. Horan in that he was the first Kerry captain to never receive the Sam Maguire and go up the Hogan Stand; the Dubs had a lot to do with that.

Mr. Horan, in his address, spoke about inclusion. I think of what the GAA has done in that regard, particularly in terms of the leader of the DUP attending the game in Fermanagh. That was a very important step by both sides, because there would not have been widespread or unanimous support of that from the GAA side but that is how we build inclusion and make progress. He also spoke about the relationship with ladies football and camogie, and I believe the memorandum of understanding is very important, because there are issues and tensions at local level.

The GAA has the facilities, while the ladies have the numbers; therefore, we need to make sure there is a structure for it.

Mr. Horan spoke about inclusion in the context of respect for the national anthem. I congratulate the GAA on being the first sports organisation to have sign language interpreters on the field of play for the official version of the national anthem, an issue which was debated in this House. I note that Mr. Alan Milton is in the Visitors Gallery. The GAA was the basis for the sports protocol adopted by the Oireachtas. The GAA has a far bigger protocol than other organisations, including some elements of the State.

Did expanding broadcasting bring with it greater inclusion in places such as England? That was the aim in doing so.

In the context of rural decline, Mr. Horan talked about politicians and GAA personalities being similar. I am not saying Pat Spillane is a politician, but he did great work on the issue of rural decline which is having a huge impact, especially in County Kerry where there is declining participation, not because the facilities are not available but because there are not the numbers. The activism of the GAA is important and it is addressing the issue and assisting the Government to come up with solutions. Perhaps Mr. Horan might address the issue.

My final issue is the price of tickets, which is of concern to people in County Kerry. Will Mr. Horan look at the issue to see how it might be addressed for families?

In my heart I cannot wish the Dubs the best in achieving five in a row, but I wish Mr. Horan the best of luck as Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael.

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