Ballypickas man seeks to abolish Parish Rule

Ballypickas man Tom Cahill has said he will “block the roads in Dublin” if he has to, as he starts a campaign to abolish parish rule in the GAA.

Ballypickas man Tom Cahill has said he will “block the roads in Dublin” if he has to, as he starts a campaign to abolish parish rule in the GAA.

Mr Cahill has taken up the fight arising from his frustration at the the long-held practice of using the Roman Catholic parishes of Ireland to determine the catchment area for clubs.

Ballypickas have long been in dispute over the practice, as their location between the Abbeyleix and Ballinakill parishes has seen them lose players over the rule.

Both Ballypickas and Ballinakill have recently entered mediation to bring an end to the dispute, but Cahill has decided to take up his protest on his own.

“Back in 1988 was the first time I was refused we’ve been fighting it since then, but there will be no stopping this time, I’ll be going to headquarters and I will block the roads of Dublin if I have to.”

Mr Cahill has said he will start his protest this morning (Wednesday) at 11.30am at the Laois GAA offices in Parkside, and take it to the Leinster Council or wherever else he feels he needs to take it in order to get the Parish Rule rescinded.

Speaking of the rule, Mr Cahill highlighted the problems it has caused for people in the Ballypickas club. “The rule should be tore up and burnt, it has caused so much stress and torment to next door neighbours and to children as well.”

Laois GAA chairman Brian Allen has said an agreement is already in place to help Ballypickas. “There is an agreement in place between the two clubs and the Leinster Council, which is what everybody wanted. The Leinster Council have set up a special sub-committee to deal with it and any problems have to go straight to them.”

Mr Cahill has said the campaign is being undertaken “completely on my own”, but that he will not stop in his bid to over turn the rule.​