Appearing on Off The Ball last night An Taoiseach Micheál Martin spoke on an abundance of matters from school children’s PE time allocations to Olympians, inter county GAA players funding and professional boxing opportunities in Ireland.
While hopeful there will be a return of spectators to matches in July amid further research into antigen testing and also vaccination progress, the Taoiseach was keen to assure the nation that “we are making great progress” but that “we’ve got to keep control of this. We don’t want ever again to go back to [where case levels were at] Christmas.”
When asked about the disparity in funding granted between inter-county GAA (around €3million per year) and LGFA (around €700 thousand per year) figures Mr Martin aspired that the Government will aim to close that gap “over time”, but that “grants relate to your expenditure too and what you can realistically draw down in any one year so that’s the only caveat there.”
“My view is that we have to move to 50/50 [funding] and to equality, absolutely. That is a policy agenda of ours to equalise the allocation of funding” he said.
“Next year I think it should evolve into that…In terms of for example expenses for players and so on there’s no excuse.”
With the LGFA confirming yesterday in a statement that players from away teams will be paid 30c per mile in an undisputedly brilliant but long anticipated measure, evolution is clearly on the cards even if only in stages towards the right direction.
Otherwise divergence between the Camogie fixture list and LGFA split season are to no doubt wreak havoc for dual players this year as of yet, but quality discrepancies between genders are too a problem that still prevails in today’s world.
The Taoiseach says he “would like to see in Gaelic Games for example one organisation covering the men and the women, and the funding being allocated equally.”
Although the country’s national games often dominate headlines, also touched on was the carding system of money allotted to Olympians per annum.
Mr Martin said he was “sympathetic to doing more for the Olympians” and also “potential” Olympians as “in many instances their entire lives are devoted to that pursuit at that level.”
He also conceded misgivings in the area of professional boxing events, something which he can’t see unfolding in this country “any time soon” due to safety precautions.
With all 18 of Katie Taylor’s wins outside of amateur level transpiring over-seas but Gardaí advising against home bouts, the Taoiseach believes it’s “very challenging for the athlete because they want to be the very best at their sport, but it’s not a comfortable environment” at the moment.
“I think the whole world of professional boxing is in difficulty,” he said.