The GAA has never been afraid of change and progress and the publication of a new three year strategic plan covering 2018-2021 will produce more of the same.
Often the best guide to the future is to look to the past and the last three year plan published in March 2015 yielded substantial change in terms of the programmes available to club leadership, the change in Minor games from U18 to U17, the GRMA rewards programme, the Bank ofIreland Celtic Challenge in hurling for young players just below the elite and of course the revamped football championship which itself was the start point for the revised Hurling Championship.
None of these changes existed three years ago and yet today they are part and parcel of the sport whether in the way it is seen at national level or run at local.
What then are the changes likely to emerge under the new plan?
To our way of thinking the greatest changes will come at club level and within the communities they serve.
The creation and promotion of new formats for recreational play and the expansion of the Healthy Clubs initiative to be accessible to all will both play well to Government initiatives designed to generate greater physical activity.
The greater emphasis in inclusivity will also be of significant importance when it comes to the GAA reaching beyond its substantial base.
Greater emphasis on uniting the roles of the GAA, Camogie Association and Ladies Football at club level will also lead to a greater momentum to ensure the same at national level while the talk of enhanced funding and resource to promote Club activities will also be used well by those who are most open to it.
“This Strategic Plan is the culmination of six month’s work and consultation by a Steering Group which employed various methods with many stakeholders such as our members and volunteers, as well as external parties,” said GAA President John Horan.
”Fís Shoiléir 2021 sets out a clear vision for our future and sets the agenda for strategic actions that will have a positive impact at all levels of the Association. It is a timely commitment to our longer-term strategy for sustaining and growing the GAA.”
“The plan has five goals – to improve participation, to transform the development of volunteers, to advance governance, revamp communication, and grow the Association. The achievement of these goals will help the GAA achieve its mission, as a community-based volunteer organisation to promote Gaelic games, culture and lifelong participation.”
“Achievement of the goals and objectives in the Strategic Plan will be one of my top priorities between now and 2021, and implementation is already underway,” added Director General Tom Ryan.
”Robust structures have been established to assist implementation, such as the establishment of a Strategic Implementation Committee which will meet regularly to monitor the creation and implementation of operational plans set by those with lead responsibility for delivering the various objectives.”
Image credit: Eoin Noonan, Sportsfile.