Strong Ulster opposition to grants

December 06, 2007
Over 500 'concerned' GAA grassroots members packed the Elk Inn in Toome, Co. Antrim on Wednesday night to voice their opposition to the player grants scheme. The huge gathering asserted that the GAA's amateur status was under threat and they also appealed to Central Council, who meet on Saturday, to defer any decision until there was a meaningful debate on the controversial issue of inter-county players receiving grants. Former Armagh player Barry O'Hagan chaired the debate and was joined at the top table by 'grassroots' activists Mark Conway and Gerard Bradley. Former Derry players Joe Brolly and Fergal McCusker, who are both opposed to the grants scheme, were among the crowd, as was former GAA Trustee Jimmy Treacy. But former GAA president Peter Quinn was unable to attend due to sickness. After the meeting, Mark Conway released a statement which confirmed the meeting's fervent opposition to the grants scheme. "Those present are totally opposed to any change in the GAA's amateur status," the statement read. "The current pay-for-play proposals are seen to be in direct conflict with that status. Those present called for any decision on these proposals at either of this week's Management or Central Council meetings to be deferred. "Those present called for a full and proper discussion of the detail and implications of these proposals to be carried out by the GAA at all levels."

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