Our present government is caught up in a whirlwind of self-righteous zeal, a crusade to abolish all perceived inequities in society and replace them with a fair, equal, democratic society devoid of religion, sex, class, vice and colour.
Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn recently announced proposals to make the school admission systems fairer. Preference will no longer be given to children of past pupils or siblings of current pupils.
Likewise, the religious orders’ involvement in the administration of schools will no longer be required, notwithstanding the fact that in its infancy, our fledgling state was more than happy to hand the responsibility for running our hospitals, schools and corrective institutions over to the church…
So in order to be consistent in the great levelling of our society, the next target for our elected representatives surely must be the GAA.
It’s an organisation that played a similar role to the Church in the social and cultural history of Ireland, it benefits from an unequal amount of state funding relative to other sports, it is exclusionist, reactionary, insular and immensely profitable.
What other sport can boast at least one top quality, pitch, stadium or clubhouse in every backwater town in Ireland?
What other sport received €110million of government and national lottery funding to pimp their stadium?
What other sport can effectively annex every spare acre of public parkland?
However, it’s highly unlikely the government will challenge the might of the GAA, despite how unfairly it dominates the sporting landscape and strangles the development of other sports. It would be political hari kiri. It’s far easier to beat up on the Church.