Initiative to support Gaelic Games in Belfast launched
A plan to strengthen and promote Gaelic games across Belfast was unveiled today (Friday 13th April) by the GAA at Belfast City Hall.
Gaelfast’ the five-year `plan, is unique within the Gaelic Athletic Association, and represents the biggest ever non-capital initiative by the GAA in the North, and will place expert coaches to schools across Belfast in order to promote the ethos of the GAA, alongside games development
GAA at National Level, with other stakeholders, will invest in excess of one-million pounds in the project. This will supplement the ongoing facilities developments for Gaelic Games within the city by a partnership of GAA and Belfast City Council, which started three years ago.
The aim of the plan is to reinvigorate the Association in the City, with a view to increasing membership levels of GAA clubs across Belfast.
Gaelfast will commence in September 2018 and, initially will see around 20 schools across Belfast taking part.
Coaches will be in the schools one day per week and the scheme will be overseen by an appointed Belfast Regeneration Manager. The advertisement seeking application for this post was published in local and national press and media outlets during this week.
Commenting on ‘Gaelfast’, GAA President, John Horan, said: "The GAA is in excellent health across Ulster and this five-year plan will help increase participation in Gaelic games in Belfast, the second largest city on the island of Ireland.
"The GAA’s roots are in communities across Ireland and the key to strengthening that relationship and ensuring the future successes of the GAA is working with young people and ensuring the next generation are involved with Gaelic games.
"This five-year plan is the most comprehensive ever developed for Belfast and builds on the expertise within the GAA in order to give expert coaching to children and to assist schools with their involvement with the GAA.
"Belfast has a rich history of Gaelic games and this five-year plan aims to build on that and further promote the GAA across all sections of the city.’’
Colin Donnelly, Chairman of Antrim GAA said the Gaelfast plan will provide a huge boost to Gaelic Games in Belfast. "The Gaelfast initiative will tap into the huge reservoir of talent and enthusiasm that exists for the GAA in Ireland’s second-biggest city.
"This is a direct, hands-on approach which builds from the grass roots up and both Antrim and Down County Boards are delighted to be running the programme and for the support which we have received from the GAA nationally, provincially and indeed from Belfast City Council.
"GAA in Belfast is a sleeping giant and this initiative will provide real impetus to Gaelic Games. Indeed over the past number of years we have seen a big increase in participation levels in GAA by schools from a range of community backgrounds, which has been fantastic.
"Everyone benefits by participation in sports and this five-year plan will build on the strong work that has been made by schools, parents and communities across Belfast over the past number of years. The ultimate success of this plan will be measured in increased participation in clubs across Belfast.’’
Commenting on the initiative, the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Nuala McAllister said: "As a city, Belfast is committed to promoting positive health and wellbeing.
"Our goal is to get more people more active more often, using our fantastic sporting venues, leisure centres and local parks.
"As a city, we also have thriving sports clubs and participation programmes that continue to flourish and engage people in sport and physical activity.
"With Belfast City Council investing £105m in the Leisure transformation programme to fund brand new leisure centres, we really are going to change the face of leisure in the city. Initiatives such as this will also help.”