LIMERICK GAA officials have warned against the use of GAA grounds for ‘other sports’.
County Board secretary Mike O’Riordan has made contact with all clubs in Limerick to remind them of rule 5.1.
In recent weeks it has transpired that the facilities of one club was used by a local soccer club, while last weekend another GAA ground hosted an underage rugby blitz.
This week all Limerick clubs were circulated a document from Croke Park, entitled ‘Broad Policy on Use of GAA facilities’.
“The Gaelic Athletic Association has a policy not to provide the use of its Grounds or facilities for rival field sports in respect of which the Association is in competition for membership and participation,” commences the document, which concludes that club acting contrary to this rule, shall be subjected to suspension or fine.
The rule in question is ‘All property including grounds, Club Houses, Halls, Dressing Rooms and Handball Alleys owned or controlled by units of the Association shall be used only for the purpose of or in connection with the playing of the Games controlled by the Association, and for such other purposes not in conflict with the Aims and Objects of the Association, that may be sanctioned from time to time by the Central Council. Grounds controlled by Association units shall not be used or permitted to be used, for Horse Racing, Greyhound Racing, or for Field Games others than those sanctioned by Central Council.’
The Croke Park policy document outlines: “Our primary objective is the development and promotion of Gaelic Games and our grounds and facilities give an essential permanent presence and identity to the Association and to our National Games in their respective locations and communities, in keeping with the Association’s purpose and standing. Were our grounds to be made available for games promoted by other organisations in direct competition with our national games it would seriously dilute this presence and the unity of purpose of the Association and would be an absolute contradiction of the Association’s aims”.
It is understood that there are also insurance concerns about “rival field sports” using GAA facilities.
Seven time All Ireland club football champions Nemo Rangers were a high profile club caught in a rule 5.1 storm in February 2010 when Declan Kidney’s Irish rugby squad used some of their club indoors facilities in preparation for the Six Nations.
The international side were due to train outdoors in Cork but a frozen pitch forced them indoors that morning.
The opening of club and county grounds is a constant source of debate. In February a motion that could have seen county GAA grounds opened up to other sports was defeated at Annual Congress in Cavan. Limerick was among the counties to vote against the motion, as directed by the clubs at a County Board meeting.