As GAA players across the country and indeed in new York and London, prepare for the start of Championship season they will find a boost to their fortunes next week with the payment of the the first tranche of the money promised in grants as part of the new funding agreement made between the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, and the Gaelic Players Association.
Grants awarded to players will range from €519 to €1,066 based on performance in the 2016 Championships. In total the Government has made a commitment totalling €6.9 million to the grant scheme and an additional €1 million for disbursement in programmes for Ladies Football and Camogie inter county players.
As with previous agreements, Sport Ireland provided the funding to the GAA who are working with the Gaelic Players Association for the appropriate disbursement of the grants to the players.
The grant provides practical support to players and allows them to continue playing their sport at the highest level all over Ireland, while also maintaining a career or studies.
The new agreement was made based on the principle of players assisting in public awareness of the importance of physical activity, as a given, but also in areas ranging from the promotion of mental health and wellbeing, the fight against obesity and the prevention of alcohol and drugs misuse.
They will also be asked to have increased involvement in promoting healthy lifestyles at a local level through the Sport Ireland Local Sports partnerships in every county.
“The Government’s investment in this agreement shows how important Gaelic Games are to our country,” said Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Patrick O’Donovan.
“It is an affirmation of the contribution of these sports to our communities, our culture and our sporting pride.”
“Our Gaelic Games players give tireless commitment to club, community and county and I am glad to acknowledge this commitment today.”
“The areas of mental health, obesity, adult literacy and alcohol and drug misuse as well as efforts to increase physical activity levels across the population are ones which must be highlighted. It is fantastic that we have these players as role models to assist in the promotion and awareness of these issues.”
‘‘Our players are role models in Irish society and are leaders in their community and parishes,” added GPA CEO Dermot Earley.
“It is important that we recognise the huge positive impact that they have on our society and Ireland as a whole.”
“We are delighted that players will receive their grant payments this week. We fully support this new agreement and the focus it places on players helping to promote health and physical activity.”
“Working with their Local Sports partnerships Intercounty players will take a lead role in helping to promote health and physical activity in their own communities as well as key national policies.”