Tánaiste announces strengthened support for GAA overseas
Press release15 March 2023
The Tánaiste, Mr. Micheál Martin TD, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence, has reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to the overseas development of Gaelic Games with the announcement of a grant of €500,000 towards the redevelopment of Gaelic Park in New York.
The funding is being made available through the Government’s Emigrant Support Programme, and the Tánaiste made the announcement at a meeting in New York today with representatives of the GAA in New York, led by its Chairperson Joan Henchy.
Located in the Bronx, Gaelic Park is an iconic GAA location and has been a home for Gaelic games in New York City since 1926. It has long been at the epicentre of Irish culture and heritage in New York, with New York GAA having been established in 1914.
Between 350 – 400 players from nursery age to adult senior level use the playing facility of Gaelic Park weekly. Aside from the activity on the field, Gaelic Park is a crucial focal point for the Irish community in New York and is a long-established support structure for generations of Irish Diaspora who have lived, worked and studied in the region.
New York remains a centre for Gaelic games activity with 50 clubs in existence.
Work has commenced on an exciting new two story, 12,000 square foot facility. The $6.2 million project has received $2 million from Croke Park and this newly announced €500,000 contribution from the Irish government will enable the project to meet its projected completion date of March 2024.
Upon completion, the redevelopment in Gaelic Park will include a fully furbished function room, catering facilities, medical office, two development offices and downstairs changing rooms.
The support announced by the Tánaiste is in addition to Emigrant Support Programme funding provided annually to the GAA through the Department of Foreign Affairs’ Global Games Development Fund which supports GAA clubs and enables them to create a sporting and community network for the Diaspora worldwide. At present, the GAA estimates it has more than 450 GAA clubs operating outside of Ireland and throughout the Americas, Asia, Australia, Europe and the Middle East.
This July the GAA will welcome 1,500 players from 100 teams from around the world back to Ireland for the GAA World Games which takes place in Owenbeg in Derry.
Speaking after the meeting, the Tánaiste, Micheál Martin, TD, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence, said:
“As I continue my visit to New York over the St Patrick’s Day period, I am delighted to announce a grant of €500,000 from the Government’s Emigrant Support Programme to the GAA for the re-development of New York’s iconic Gaelic Park, which has for almost 100 years been at the heart of the Irish community in New York.
“As Irish communities across the United States evolve, the GAA has an important part to play in keeping Irish people in the US connected to home. The Association also helps us to connect new generations of Irish-Americans to their Irish culture and heritage, as well as those from other backgrounds who have an affinity for Ireland.
“The global GAA network is unique and it is something the Government is proud to be associated with. The Government supports the GAA in its overseas work, including an annual grant to the Global Games Development Fund. We have also, through the Emigrant Support Programme, supported a number of capital projects, such as the recent development of the facilities at Ruislip in London.
“We are delighted to be partnering again with the GAA on a flagship overseas project, one which will secure the place of Irish culture and heritage in the New York”.
President of the GAA, Mr. Larry McCarthy added:
“On behalf of the GAA I want to thank the Tánaiste and the Government of Ireland for this significant funding support for the planned redevelopment of Gaelic Park.
“Generations of Irish people have anchored their life in New York around the weekly pilgrimages to ‘The Park’; to see and play matches, to maintain a link with home and to make friends, find work and build up contacts that allow them to make the most of the opportunity of living in New York.
“As a member of the Diaspora, I can speak with confidence when I say that the GAA clubs that make up World GAA are mirror images of the clubs who cater for communities throughout the island of Ireland, and aside from the promotion of our national games, these clubs are an invaluable support structure for the Diaspora and allow thousands of people make a home from home as they live, work and study abroad.
“This generous support will enable Gaelic Park to provide a state-of-the-art facility that ensures that it remains the epicentre for Irish culture and heritage for generations to come.”
15 March 2023
Notes to the Editor:
The Emigrant Support Programme is central to the Government of Ireland’s engagement with our communities abroad. Since its inception in 2004, the Emigrant Support Programme has assisted over 530 organisations in some 37 countries with grants totalling over €220 million.
Since 2007, a match-funding partnership arrangement with the GAA has facilitated Emigrant Support Programme funding of just over €5.7m towards GAA’s Games Development worldwide.
The Global Games Development Fund provides financial support for projects that increase opportunities for the Irish Diaspora and other communities abroad to play Gaelic Games, strengthening Irish networks and Irish identity internationally.