DONEGAL COUNTY CHAIRMAN SEAN DUNNION has identified four key areas to tackle in 2016, his fourth year in the position.
Dunnion retained the top position in Donegal GAA after defeating Denis Ellis 128-27 in a vote at yesterday afternoon’s annual County Convention in Letterkenny and gave delegates present a synopsis of what he hopes to achieve in 2016.
In an ambitious address to Convention, Dunnion highlighted the development of a clubhouse at the Donegal GAA Training Centre in Convoy; fundraising to boost the county’s finances; obtaining agreement on the club catchment areas; and the fixture calendar as the main areas he sees as the ‘primary challenges’ for next year.
Temporary accommodation is currently in place at the Training Centre in Convoy, where two pitches are operational and another two will be available for use by the end of 2016.
The Development Officer, Terence McShea, estimated that the cost of developing the building at the venue would cost between €1.2 million and €1.5 million.
“We want to make significant and speedy progress on the clubhouse and dressing room building,” Dunnion said.
“Key decisions will be needed in quarter 1 of 2016. We will need to approve a budget and seek approval for a building that will be fit for purpose into the future.
“This project is huge and a team of expertise will have to be put together very shortly after this Convention.
“Due to the scale of this, I want to assure delegates that all the key decisions will be approved by delegates to ensure that it comes in on budget.”
So far, Donegal GAA has spend €2.5 million on the purchase and development of the Centre while a debt of around €500,000 is being carried on the project. Dunnion reported that €800,000 will need to be raised to get through the next phase.
“How do we do that? We will have to identify grant possibilities that we can apply for and secure, while we will have our own plan that will see multiple initiatives at home and abroad.
“We will need a fund-raising subgroup to bring in the funds required. There are so many Donegal people in Ireland and scattered all over the world. We need to think outside of the traditional ways of fund-raising.”
On the sometimes thorny topic of club catchment areas, a map has been drawn up illustrating the catchment areas, but there remain several disputed club boundaries across Donegal, an issue that Dunnion believes must be resolved.
“I am disappointed that two clubs have yet to make a submission on this but work will proceed in January,” Dunnion said.
“The best way is for clubs to agree on catchment areas locally. I don’t think that any club wants a situation where the county is asked to determine the catchment areas.
“Two clubs in Donegal who have been in dispute for 30 years have met to see if they can resolve their difficulties and I would appeal to others to open up communication channels.”
Dunnion was firm in his stance on the GAA’s problematic fixtures calendar.
“If we are serious, then we have to do more than pay lip service in supporting proposals,” he said, referencing the proposals released recently by the GAA’s Ard Stiúrthóir, Paraic Duffy.
“We must vote for them when they are before Congress. One concern I expressed this year is the calendar year schedule, which will lead to a shorter window for provincial championships.
“Clubs should be aware of the knock-on effect – their county players will be available less as the League programme will continue without the first 26 players from May to August, depending on the success of the county team.”Tags: