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GAA President Christy Cooney

GAA President Christy Cooney formally recognizes GPA

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GAA President Christy Cooney

The President of the Gaelic Athletic Association, Christy Cooney, formally recognized the Gaelic Players Association (GPA) at the GAA’s 2010 annual congress in Newcastle, County Down.

In his speech, Cooney talked about how both organizations have a lot of common goals.

“I believe we can work together and maintain both our amateur ethos and the importance of the volunteer in a modern vibrant Association focused on delivering the best possible playing experience for our players at all levels. We have already announced some key joint initiatives in this area.

“We are working together now in developing a comprehensive agreement to put in place a framework for a long term relationship that respects our values and traditions. We will have this completed in September of this year.

"Our success in reaching a basis for agreement with our players will be looked on as being of major significance in years to come. The interim arrangement acknowledges the special contribution that our inter-county players make to the Association as a whole and the great lengths that they go to in making this contribution.

Cooney did mention that the the GAA and the GPA have not always seen eye to eye, with the welfare payments to players a bone of contention, but both parties were able to work together to make an agreement.

“It is well documented that we were never comfortable agreeing to a funding system that was percentage based.

“However, through talks and the important contribution of Turlough O Donnell, SC, who assisted in a voluntary capacity, we were able to identify a way forward that allowed us to fund the GPA in delivering player welfare programs for our inter county players, and in the process ensuring the commitment of the player’s body to our amateur and voluntary ethos.

“The arrangement was the product of a relationship that has improved over a period of time and it recognizes the importance of looking after our players properly.

“The GPA’s stated goal of promoting all aspects of player welfare and the provision of a collective voice for inter-county players complements our own ambitions in this regard.

Chief Executive of the GPA Dessie Farrell was happy that the two organizations had reached an agreement on player welfare.

"We've seen the disharmony that can be caused by disputes between players and County Boards; this step will go a long way to ensure that this doesn't happen again,' said the former Dublin footballer.

“This is a vote in favor of player welfare and it is a very important signal to send out to our players.’

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