As most GAA fans will be aware sadly the famous Hayes Hotel in Thurles was placed into receivership in April 2013.
Hayes Hotel has – and always will have - a special place in the hearts of Gaels around the globe, as being the place where the GAA was founded in 1884 by Michael Cusack, Maurice Davin, John K Bracken, George McCarthy, PJ Ryan, John Wise-Power and John McKay.
News today that former GAA President and now European MEP, Sean Kelly has again requested that the GAA sets up a special committee to seriously evaluate buying its historic birthplace of Hayes Hotel in Tipperary or find other possible ways to preserve the building.
The Kerryman, who has raised the issue on previous occasions with the GAA in recent years, says his proposal is under ‘time pressure’ since the 34-bedroom Thurles Hotel was placed into receivership last April.
Mr Kelly voiced disappointment when the GAA previously responded to his request stating that the sports organisation did not intend to purchase the hotel.
This week the South MEP has again written to the GAA’s Director General Padraig Duffy calling for a special committee to be established to evaluate the proposal and to process the matter.
“The hotel is in receivership so my proposal is time sensitive. I have again urged the GAA to evaluate the prospect of buying the hotel or other possibilities to preserve the building seriously.”
Mr Kelly described the hotel as “an iconic landmark” as the birthplace of the Association.
“It is a place of enormous cultural and historical importance for our country and the Irish diaspora. It is only right that we protect the very building where our great Association was founded in 1884.
“I also firmly believe it has huge tourism potential and could become a major regional attraction in Tipperary, if developed wisely.”
Mr Kelly also welcomed recent cross-party political concern on the matter: “The level of cross-party political support for GAA involvement with Hayes Hotel in Thurles is indicative of the wider public support there would be for such a project.”
Buildings linked to the very existence of the GAA are few and far between and at the very least GAA HQ should accede to Kelly’s request to set up an evaluation process.
Hayes Hotel is not simply just another property, another hotel. For many it is a place of annual pilgrimage and a national monument, so not only the GAA but also Government Agencies and Tipperary TD’s should become actively involved in finding a way of keeping Hayes Hotel within the GAA community in Ireland .
Shame on them if they don’t !
Here we can hear Senator Denis Landy speaking on the subject in the Seanad