Over 400 Ulster gaels met in The Elk near Toome on Wednesday 5 December.
The meeting was called to see what the views of grass-roots GAA people were following the announcement days earlier of an inter-County GAA pay-per-play package agreed by some people in the GAA; the GPA; the Irish Sports Council; and the Irish Government.
Prior to the meeting email and telephone support had been received from concerned gaels in 28 different Counties across Ireland. Almost thirty different people, GAA men and women from across Ulster spoke from the floor on the night. The consistent threads across the contributions were:
1. The GAA is being presented with pay-for-play, however it's being dressed up
2. The Association's amateur status must be sacrosanct
3. Planned decisions on the proposals at this weekend's meeting of Central Council should be deferred
4. A full consultation on the proposals across all levels and units of the GAA needs to be facilitated.
5. It was also made clear that GAA players are respected for the honourable place and central role they have in the Association: proper player representation needs to be urgently looked at. Similar respect was voiced for the GAA as an organisation; for its structures and systems; and for its President.
At the end of the meeting there was unanimous support for the following resolutions:
1. There must be no change (other than properly mandated via Congress) to the GAA's amateur status as presented in its Rule 11: the current proposals fly in the face of that amateur status and Rule 11
2. The discussion of the current proposals planned for the forthcoming Management and Central Council meetings should be deferred
3. A full and proper discussion of these issues should take place across the GAA
Those present would proceed to use their own Club and County channels to voice their opposition to the current proposals.
Finally, the clear consensus was that should the current proposals be approved before a proper consultation with the membership is carried out, then a further meeting would be called to again gauge opinion.