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Aogán Ó Fearghail: Easter Rising celebration can be a vision for the future

Updated: Thursday, 10 Mar 2016 16:11 | Comments

Croke Park during the Special Olympics closing ceremony in 2003
Croke Park during the Special Olympics closing ceremony in 2003

GAA President Aogán Ó Fearghail has described a spectacular Croke Park celebration to mark the centenary anniversary of the Easter Rising as a "rallying call" that will serve not just as a commemoration, but as a "vision for the future".

The show will take place after the Allianz Football League Division 1 and 2 finals on Sunday 24 April.

Over 3,500 musicians, singers actors will take part in an ambitious production that will focus on the role of Gaelic games and the GAA in Ireland from its earliest inception through to the revolutionary period and right up to the present day.

Ó Fearghail is hopeful every single club in the country will be represented in a ceremony he believes will be on a par with the Special Olympics back in 2007.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio 1's Today With Seán O'Rourke, Ó Fearghail said: “This is very much about commemorating the events of 100 years ago, but it’s also about the vision for the future.

"We hope it’s a vision for the future also. We’re hoping for every GAA club in the country to come in their club colours and to be represented."

“It was a seminal moment in Irish history. The GAA was very much part of all of that and we will remember the events of Easter week in particular.

“I could compare it to the Special Olympics, which was a magnificent event here in Croke Park. I could compare it to the first floodlit match we had in 2007, a packed Croke Park that everyone will remember.

"We had a significant event here in 2009 for the 125th anniversary. It will be on that scale and on that level. It is really a rallying call and it is an opportunity.

"This is probably the only opportunity where all 32 counties can be reflected and all our membership north, south, east and west can come together and in a very nice and important way.

"We hope it’s a vision for the future also. We’re hoping for every GAA club in the country to come in their club colours and to be represented.

"Most county teams do manage their affairs very well... but there are some counties where there is definitely an issue."

"There will be a representation of not only GAA clubs on the island of Ireland but around the world because we know we have significant interest, particularly from Britain and America, from people in various places who are coming home for this. We’re a worldwide and a growing family and we want to reflect that."

Ó Fearghail also commented on the spiralling cost of running inter-county teams and called for a more vigilant approach to spending.

Last year overall inter-county expenditure rose to a record €21.9m, with the president keen to see more restraint.

"Most county teams do manage their affairs very well. There isn't an issue in most, but there are some counties where there is definitely an issue," he said.

"In some counties their back-room teams in particular have grown beyond necessary.

"Between strength and conditioning and dietitians and various luminaries like that,  they don't all need to be paid. We have a volunteer ethos. It does take a significant amount of money to run a county team, I acknowledge and accept that, but counties need to be vigilant."

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