GAA Ticket Pricing Tackled

    Senator Conway-Walsh speaking at a special address in the Seanad by Mr. John Horan, President of the Gaelic Athletic Association

    I am concerned that the GAA ticket pricing model could prevent loyal supporters from attending matches, particularly families where a number of tickets have to be purchased.

    I was surprised to find that the decision to increase the ticket prices was unanimous with Central Council. While acknowledging the fantastic contribution of the GAA across the country, there are many members who feel alienated from this and other decisions. 

    There is also a lack of understanding among supporters as to why these increases are necessary. The price of €90 for an All-Ireland final ticket will render the day far too expensive for many families, especially those outside Dublin.

     The recent press release from the GAA announcing the ticket increases seemed to suggest that there has been no increases in ticket prices since 2011. Most people who attend games regularly, especially families, are well aware that prices have risen several times since then. The cost of living is rising while most wages remain stagnant and I believe the GAA should have taken this into account before any admission increase was announced.

    Access issues to GAA grounds have improved remarkably in recent years as physical infrastructure has improved, however there remains work to be done to ensure that those with intellectual disabilities can enjoy full access. Support dogs for those with autism is an example of where increased training is required for stewards.  I specifically asked the President if he could look at introducing a disability card as part of the Season Ticket Card and a card for Carers.

    I further asked what the GAA is doing to engage with the growing conversation surrounding Irish unity and identity.  I urged Uachtarán CLG to have regard to the founding aim of the association : The Association is a National Organisation which has as its basic aim the strengthening of the National Identity in a 32 County Ireland. This includes continuing support for the Irish language and the rights of those who wish to speak it.

    There were many other questions I wished to put to the President including the profile of Ladies Football and Camogie, female toilet facilities and racial and homophobic abuse as well as additional investment needed in hurling in the weaker counties.  I sincerely thank all those who responded to my call for issues they wanted raised at this special sitting.  I hope to raise further questions in committee.