John Haran - St Eunans GAA club chairman
A top Donegal GAA figure has called for “a wee bit of give and take” in order to resolve the problems clubs are facing in paying the full levy to the county board, in a year when incomes are virtually zero for clubs.
St Eunan’s club chairman John Haran has suggested that cash-strapped clubs could possibly pay “half of the levy this year and the other half next year”.
His call comes after Naomh Conaill chairman David Kelch called on the board to scrap this year’s levy to allow clubs to pay the full amount next year.
Kelch added that his club was prepared to engage with the county board to come to a resolution to a difficult issue.
Haran told the Donegal Democrat/People's Press: “The pandemic has hit all of us very hard.
“Everything is closed up and you would love to see young people out on the pitch playing, but there has been nothing happening. It is very frustrating.
“But from a financial point of view so many clubs have no income for Lotto or bingo or any kind of fund-raising and we still have bills to pay for the upkeep of the club as well as various levies to be paid including one to the county board.
“The grounds have to cut, and we have to pay insurance and other levies as well and it will be difficult.”
When asked to respond to David Kelch’s call to scrap the levy for this year, he said: “I would probably be in favour of a bit of a deferral, as when you have no income and I know some clubs depend totally on (club) lotto and bingo and how are they supposed to survive when these much-needed sources of income are no longer there?
The hope must be that the sound of voices enjoying exercise and in the longer terms, games, will soon be evident at GAA grounds again in the not too distant future. Above: O'Donnell Park in Letterkenny with the gates closed
“I fully respect that the county board is in difficulty too, trying to finish Convoy and they have had a vital big house draw put on hold so everyone’s in a difficult position.
“There is going to have to be a wee bit of give and take.
“If they could postpone it for a year or maybe pay half of it this year and the other half next year.
“As long as there is a wee bit of give and take, the clubs will support the county board, but I don’t think they can expect to get everything as normal as this has not been a normal year and everyone is finding it difficult,” he said.
Split in views
Meanwhile, there appears to be a split in views emerging about how the GAA should be handling the return to activities at its grounds.
Former Monaghan footballer Dick Clerkin, who is a member of the GAA’s Covid-19 advisory group, believes that the association must take a more conservative approach.
However, in an interesting debate on The Sunday Game, RTÉ football analyst Colm O'Rourke repeated his assertions that there should be a swifter easing of restrictions.
Clerkin stressed that the GAA had to be cautious due to the size of the organisation and the resultant potential for negative impacts on public health.
However, O'Rourke pointed out that there are a number of counties in which the transmission rate of Covid-19 is currently very low and feels there isn’t a need for the entire country to move in unison.
“I don't agree. Maybe I'm more of a risk-taker. I think the initial approach of caution was a good one but I think it’s time now to be moving on quicker,” he said.
“Particularly in the case of under-15s, we should be getting these people back out, we need to get them away from their devices.
“Physical and mental well-being is a very big issue. I think the GAA are being ultra-cautious on this one,” he said.
If you have a story or want to send a photo or video to us please contact the Donegal Live editorial team any time. To contact Donegal Democrat and Donegal People's Press, email email@example.com To contact Donegal Post, email firstname.lastname@example.org To contact Inish Times, email email@example.com.
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.