herald

Tuesday 27 September 2016

Now second FG politician complains to GAA bosses over All-Ireland ticket rules

Senator Catherine Noone Picture: Damien Eagers
Senator Catherine Noone Picture: Damien Eagers

A second Fine Gael politician has complained to the GAA after she was denied tickets for Sunday's All-Ireland football final, the Herald can reveal.

Dublin senator Catherine Noone has accused the GAA of adopting an "unfair practice" by issuing tickets directly to TDs but not senators.

It comes after her party colleague Michelle Mulherin said she believed the GAA is guilty of "discrimination".

The GAA has rejected the charge. But it's emerged a second senator also wrote to the GAA to express her annoyance at being denied tickets.

In correspondence with GAA Director General Paraic Duffy, Ms Noone is understood to have said she has always been provided with tickets in the past for All-Ireland matches.

She sought "further explanation" from Mr Duffy and described the fact that senators were not being provided with tickets as "very unfair".

Ms Noone also said that the only difference between TDs and senators is that TDs "get paid more", pointing out that senators are equally committed to GAA clubs in their local communities.

It's also emerged that other senators sought tickets from the GAA but were turned down due to high ticket demand.

These include Independent senator Lynn Ruane and Fine Gael senator Neale Richmond.

Mr Richmond told the Herald that he has "no issue whatsoever" with the GAA's stance.

"Clearly demand is high for this final between Mayo and Dublin and I don't think there is any point in senators complaining about it," he said.

Request

Ms Mulherin's comments to this newspaper about the issue attracted a barrage of abuse on Twitter.

She yesterday tweeted a copy of the letter sent to her by GAA bosses in which her request for tickets was turned down.

Ms Mulherin said she previously received tickets and suggested that the GAA has now changed its policy in relation to Oireachtas members.

"In my view, this is clear discrimination by the GAA in relation to members of the Oireachtas," she said.

The former TD said she does not understand why senators are treated differently to TDs.

She insisted that her gripe is not with GAA at a local level but instead the policy adopted the Croke Park authorities.

But the GAA has defended its policy insisting it does plenty for members of the Oireachtas.

"At central level, we can only make tickets available for purchase to TDs of competing counties," Mr Duffy said.

The tickets dispensed to politicians for the final are priced at around €80 each.

In most cases, TDs send a cheque to GAA headquarters in Dublin and receive two tickets days ahead of the game.

But one GAA stalwart yesterday suggested that the policy may now have to be reviewed in light of the "unjust criticism" levelled at it from FG politicians.

Speaking on the 'Anton Savage Show' on Today FM yesterday, former GAA President Seán Kelly rejected the criticism levelled at the GAA from his party colleagues.

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