RATHER than sit back and watch their young players emigrate, members of a County Limerick GAA club are setting up a summer work scheme to create employment for their hurlers and footballers.
Kilteely Dromkeen GAA Club which has lost six players to emigration over the past two years are also establishing a Long Term Employment Scheme which will look at various possibilities of creating sustainable, long term employment in the community.
“We are a very small community and from the GAA perspective we are finding it harder to field teams,” explained Eibhear O’Dea, who is a member of the work group that has been set up in the club.
“We have a very young adult team at the moment. We have a big base of players from the age of 18 to 24. We are fearful that if the economic situation keeps going the way it is, that a lot of our players will emigrate – a lot of them already have,” he added.
The Player Summer Work Scheme which will have its base in Kilteely village will afford players the opportunity to work and stay at home to play with the local club.
“There are many players who are qualified in various trades but cannot get work and through this scheme we hope they will pick up some extra work,” Eibhear continued.
Locals who have any work that needs to be done, be it painting, power washing, cleaning, lawn cutting - any odd jobs big or small – can contact the office and the committee will arrange for a player to call to them and carry out the work.
“A lot of them are at the age where they are finishing up in college in the next year or two and unless the situation improves a lot of these players might be forced to emigrate and that will leave us in a very difficult situation with regard to fielding teams. Rather than sit back and watch them leave the country we have decided to become proactive about it and set up this business to try and identify new business opportunities as well as getting them odd jobs around the parish or beyond as well,” said Eibhear.
Paudie Ahern from Main Street, Kilteely has just completed a degree in civil engineering at Limerick Institute of Technology “but there is nothing out there” for him, in terms of work, he says.
According to the 21-year-old he isn’t picky in terms of what work he will take.
“I’d be willing to do anything - strimming, power-washing – I do all that anyway because we have a farm at home so I would have been doing that all my life,” said the GAA player who plays both codes, hurling and football at Junior A level.
The club initiative, he says, “will be great to get a bit of work”.
*See the Limerick Leader print edition for a full version of this story.