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'Funding will definitely be on the table' - GPA set for talks with GAA on new agreement

The current GAA-GPA agreement expires at the end of December 2015.

Launch of 2014 GPA Annual Report GPA CEO Dessie Farrell with Armagh's Kevin Dyas, Kilkenny's Cillian Buckley and Limerick's Donal O'Grady. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

THE GPA ARE to seek an increase in funding from the GAA when negotiations begin before the end of 2015 on a new agreement between the two organisations.

The five-year agreement – which handed the GPA official status within the GAA for the first time – is set to expire at the end of December this year. Negotiations are set to begin shortly with GPA CEO Dessie Farrell revealing that ‘funding will definitely be on the table’.

The GAA and GPA agreed a one-year interim agreement for 2010 which saw the GPA receive €1m before the five-year agreement began with the GPA getting €1.5m in 2011. That figure has steadily risen to see them set to take in €2.2m this year.

We’ll use the current agreement as a platform to build an even better agreement,” outlined Farrell.

Dessie Farrell GPA CEO Dessie Farrell Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

“Funding is a challenge for the GAA, it’s a challenge for us, it’s a challenge for everyone. The level of ambition we have within the organisation, (is) to grow and develop and do more for players.

“Ultimately our games are huge beneficiaries of that work. I think funding will definitely be on the table this year. There will be challenges, no doubt, but there will also be opportunities for both the GPA and the GAA in the next agreement.”

“We have in essence an 11-month period but we hope in the first quarter of this year that we’ll get down to brass tacks. Maybe by the end of the summer, you might have a new agreement in place.”

Launch of 2014 GPA Annual Report GAA Director-General Paraic Duffy, Minister of State Michael Ring and GPA CEO Dessie Farrell at the annual report launch yesterday. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Farrell revealed that he will keep his ‘powder dry’ on what would constitute a better agreement for the GPA at this stage.

He also defended the transparency of the GPA and insisted that they are ‘the most audited unit in the GAA’. The GPA yesterday published their annual accounts on their website for the first time.

“There was some criticism about us having something to hide or not being transparent and that was so far from the truth. In many ways we’re the most audited unit within the GAA in terms of the agreement that’s in place and our obligations in terms of transparency and governance.

“What’s been remarkable through our engagement with the GAA, they’re very much impressed by what we have in place. Often you’d hear the comment they’d wish other units of the association had the same levels of transparency and governance in place.

“That’s very encouraging from our perspective. The accounts have been on the CRO anyway but this is the first year that we’ve put them on the website.”

Originally published oo.05

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Fintan O'Toole

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