An Taoiseach speaks at the 2005 Dublin Ladies Acadamy


of the Speech by the Taoiseach, Mr. Bertie Ahern,
T.D. at the 2005 Dublin Ladies GAA Academy



by the Taoiseach, Mr. Bertie Ahern, T.D. at the 2005 Dublin
Ladies GAA Academy In Croke Park Conference Centre on
Saturday, 12 November, 2005 at 1.15 pm.

A dhaoine Uaisle, Cuireann sé an-áthas orm bheith I bhur
láthair inniú chun an ócáid speisialta seo a cheiliúradh.
Is iontach an ócáid í seo do Mhná Bhaile Átha Cliath!

Geraldine Giles, President, Cumann Peil na mBan; Helen
O’Rourke, Chief Executive; John Hillery, Chairman, Dublin
County Board; Philip McAnenly, Childrens’ Officer, Dublin
Ladies GAA Board; And to our MC today, Martina Farrell,
former Captain of the Dublin Seniors.

I am delighted to be with you in Croke Park this evening.
As most of you will know, I relish the opportunity to
come to this magnificent stadium.

Today, however, it gives me particular pleasure to be
with you to celebrate the achievements of the Dublin GAA
Ladies Academy. With every passing year, we see the women
of Dublin – and beyond – making ever-greater inroads into
what was once a mostly male preserve! And 2005 has been
a particularly spectacular year in that regard.


While Dublin Senior men’s football team may have suffered
a devastating defeat at the hands of our Northern
rivals, the ladies have been certainly unstoppable
this year. You must surely be facing a dilemma of
where to store all the silver now, having managed
to retain it all in Dublin for the first time!

Your list of achievements in every age group is living
proof of the increasing popularity of Gaelic Games
amongst women today. More than that however, it is
also a reflection of your sheer skill, determination
and passion for Gaelic Games. The U-14’s are blazing
a trail with the retention of the All-Ireland again
this year. Equally, the U-16’s and the Under 18’s
have ensured a full compliment of Leinster trophies
in Dublin in 2005. And given that three Under 12s
teams were also entered in the Leinster competitions
for the first time, I have no doubt that your upward
trend will continue.

I am also particularly delighted that Foxrock-Cabinteely,
a relative newcomer on the scene, are here today.
Your winning of the All-Ireland Féile Division 1 is
positive proof of the strides being taken to further
develop Gaelic Games in Dublin.

would like to pay tribute to all those who have ensured
the phenomenal success of the Dublin Ladies GAA Academy
this year. Philip McAnenly and his colleagues of the Dublin
Ladies GAA Board deserve huge credit for driving this
development. It is almost a year to the day in fact, since
I was here in Croke Park to announce the allocation of
an additional €1 million in the 2005 Budget for the development
of Gaelic Games in Dublin. Just 12 months later, it is
particularly satisfying to see the concrete results of
that investment.

I also want to pay tribute to all the clubs who have co-operated
with the development of the Academy. By providing mentors
and playing facilities, you have played a huge role in
delivering such success in 2005. The involvement of some
300 players, from 48 clubs across five different age groups
is testament to the commitment of all involved. I am particularly
delighted to see that some of the girls who do not yet
have clubs in their own areas have had the opportunity
to take up Gaelic Games through the Academy. It is clear
that you are opening up as many doors as possible to enable
young people to get involved in Gaelic Games.

There is general agreement today on the importance of
sport in the development of all individuals – and in particular
the development of young people. Given this, it is vital
that every person is given the chance to participate in
the sporting activity of his or her choice. We must insist
that no obstacles exist to prevent people from getting
involved. I am confident that given the level of investment
and commitment to sport by this Government, Irish sport
will do even better in the future. The Government’s budget
for sport in 2005 is over €149 million. This compares
to just over €17 million in 1997.

This hugely increased investment has resulted in an enhanced
range of programmes, coupled with top class facilities
in cities, towns and villages around the country. Historically,
the promotion and development of sport has primarily centred
on the male population – despite the fact that women represent
a half of our population! While many sporting organisations
have endeavoured to develop an equality approach, women
are still at a disadvantage in relation to sports participation.
In order to address this issue, additional funding of
€750,000 was allocated to the Irish Sports Council this
year to commence a programme, which is geared towards
greater involvement of women in Sport. In early October,
my colleague, Minister John O’Donoghue officially launched
the Women in Sport Initiative.

I know that the Sports Council has been a strong supporter
of Ladies GAA since its establishment on a statutory basis
in 1999. And I am delighted to see that you have been
allocated funding under the Women in Sport Initiative
this year. The work you are doing both in the Academy
and in the wider promotion of Gaelic Games amongst the
female population sets a great example for others to follow.
Once again, I want to congratulate each and every one
of you here today on what has been a truly excellent year.
To my mind, it can only go even further onwards and upwards
from here!

Comhghairdeachas daoibh go léir!



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