Wednesday 22 November 2017

We can't mess with our amateur ethos - Leinster chief

LEINSTER Council chairman Martin Skelly has voiced his personal opposition to a system of regulated payments for inter-county managers.

He also believes under-the-counter remuneration is not as rampant as the popular consensus goes.

Skelly favours the continued payment of all legitimate expenses (travel, subsistence, phones, etc) plus the additional recompense of a holiday/break, in recognition of the sacrifices made by a manager in his own personal or family life.

"People should stay within the guidelines of the association," he argued.

"We are a voluntary, amateur organisation and there are thousands and thousands of our volunteers, giving up a huge amount of time.

"To add another layer (of professionalism) in the current climate is not wise; it's not sensible."

Skelly suggested an amalgamation of aspects from the various three options put forward by director-general Paraic Duffy "may be what's required".

However, he warned that adopting a policy that entailed "changing the whole amateur ethos" would be a very serious step for the GAA to take.

He continued: "I was chairman of Longford county board for seven years and, during that time, no generous benefactor ever came to me and made a contribution towards our managers.

"Any time there was ever a contribution made, it was purely to look after the players - ie, a training holiday.

"Maybe I'm not living in the real world, but there mightn't be as many people coming up with huge sums. I know there is some stuff going on ... but I'm just not fully convinced that the abuses of the system are as widespread as people may be stating.

"Maybe during the Celtic Tiger period, people did lose the run of themselves a bit - but in the current climate, I believe core values are coming back, in our association and life in general.

"For these recessionary years, we have to protect and support volunteerism."

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