Laois County Council in conjunction with Leinster GAA and Laois GAA have entered into a partnership agreement to co-fund the appointment of GAA Development Officers in the county to promote and develop gaelic games focusing specifically on increasing participation.
As evidenced by the last census, no other county has been impacted to the same degree by population shift in the country as Laois. Such changes have created enormous challenges not least in larger urban areas where both Laois County Council and the GAA wish to increase participation.
Both organisations are community focused and believe such a partnership will serve to strengthen local ties and ultimately get more people playing sport.
The Games Development Officers appointed, Andrew Kavanagh and James Kelly, will be responsible for developing gaelic games in clubs, school, and communities and by supporting the existing volunteer backbone structure.
In attendance at the launch, Chairman Laois County Council, Paul Mitchell, Laois County Manager, Peter Carey, Laois County Council, Director of Services, Anna- Marie Delaney,Chairman Leinster GAA, Martin Skelly and Chairman of Laois GAA Brian Allen.
Speaking at the launch Leinster Council Chairman Martin Skelly, remarked that the initiative was an acknowledgment of the good work being done locally by Laois GAA and he congratulated Laois County Council for their ‘innovative and forward thinking approach to the development of sport in the county’.
He pointed out that society was changing particularly so in Leinster where it was becoming more urbanized and he said this represented a challenge for the Association and CLG Comhairle Laighean recognises this fact adding that the appointment of the Andrew and James will help support local clubs and volunteers to grow participation.
Peter Carey, Laois County Manager commended the GAA for their initiative and thanked elected members of Laois County Council for approving the funding. He said this initiative and the appointment of the Development Officers Officer will compliment and help realize the goals set out by Laois County Council.
He wished the initiative well adding that the two local lads from Ballinakill and Rathdowney will have a role in achieving the Councils goals in priority areas such as the urban areas. He stressed the appointments would have a big role to play by providing young people through sport with the opportunity to explore, avoid other negative option is society, experience health and fitness.
He said the appointed had the potential to develop the GAA locally in schools and clubs but more importantly it had a ‘community building role especially throughout the new communities in Laois’.
Laois GAA Chairman Brian Allen, expressed his delight at the announcement of the initiative. He wished the two local lads every success.