For the last 12 months Uachtarán CLG, Christy Cooney, has had a One Club Committee working to establish the feasibility of three organisations , GAA, Camogie, and Ladies Gaelic Football, coming together under ‘One Club’ at grassroots level. The reality of the situation is that there are many clubs that have been operating as an ‘integrated club’ for years but there has been no formal structure in place to define how this works.
One of the first tasks for this committee was to define the ‘One Club’ model. From their research they defined the ‘One Club’ as follows:
‘The One Club is one that equally promoted the games, ideals and aspirations of the Ladies Gaelic Football Association, the Camogie Association, and the Gaelic Athletic Association. Its administration is governed by a single constitution, which provides for the election of an Executive Committee to manage the business and affairs of the Club as well as providing for a single membership structure. All activity, including fundraising and games development are carried out to support the development of the Club and the promotion of all games.’
The Committee also made a number of key decisions in relation to how clubs should engage with the ‘One Club’ Model.
Integration will be on an optional basis and not compulsory. However, it will be encouraged and support by all Associations.
The three Associations will remain separate governing bodies, retaining their own unique identity.
The three Associations will merge the rules on Club Administration. Therefore, all three Associations will have their own Club constitution that is based on the current GAA Club Constitution.
The three Associations will adopt the same rules o membership in order to achieve standardisation across the Associations. In the ‘One Club’, all members of their unit will be members of all three Associations.
There will be one executive committee, one back account and one fundraising mechanism in the club.
At the 2012 Ladies Gaelic Football Association’s Annual Congress in Breaffy House Hotel in Mayo. The delegates adopted the ‘One Club’ model as per the committee’s recommendations.
In her annual report, LGFA CEO Helen O’Rourke outlined the potential advantages for Ladies Gaelic Football Clubs that pursue this model. She highlighted that it would lead to ‘cohesive promotion of all gaelic games activities across clubs, communities and schools and the GAA family unit will become more durably embedded in their local community.’ She also stated that ‘there may be a strong tradition of clubs as individual units in an area. This may make members feel like they are ‘letting go’ of something. However, pursuing the ‘One Club’ model is about building for the future, based on the past.’
Pat Quill, Uachtarán Cumann Peil na mBan also commented on the ‘One Club’ model stating that
‘The ‘One Club’ model facilitates and equally promotes the coming together of Ladies Football, Camogie and the GAA on a voluntary basis to make the family of Gaelic Games the largest sporting family in the country.
This model presents clubs in all three Associations with guidelines for those that are already participating in a similar model and those that may wish to do so in the future. It provides an opportunity to promote the gaelic games ethos of the sports, to increase the volunteer base, develop club structures and become members of all three Associations.
There will be challenges that will arise from this coming together, but with good communications, openess facilitation, respect and understanding these will be overcome for the betterment of promotion and participation in the games and culture that we love.’