Every year, towards the end of November, members of GAA clubs from the four corners of Europe convene in one place for the Gaelic Games Europe Annual Convention. The 2018 edition was held in The Leuven Institute for Ireland in Europe in, Belgium, just outside of Brussels. The Annual Convention is the primary decision making meeting for Gaelic Games Europe, where Motions are presented, debated and adopted or rejected. It is also the occasion where the Management Committee is elected for the year ahead. This year’s edition was a record-setter in terms of attendance, with 80 participants over the course of the weekend. Below we will give you a short recap of what happened during the weekend, including the incoming & outgoing committee members, some of the key motions which were adopted and some of the workshops that took place.
As is the case every year, changes to the Management Committee are confirmed during the Annual Convention, with members leaving, changing & taking on different roles. Brian Sheehy stepped down from the position of Chairperson after 5 years of service, that saw Gaelic Games in Europe experience unprecedented growth. We’d like to thank Brian for his loyal service over the years and wish him all the best for the future. He will be replaced by Tony Bass for the coming season after a very tight election. We would also like to thank Deirdre Kelleher, Kevin Lenane, Justin Parks & Anne Marie Buck who are all departing their roles. We would also like to welcome Anthony McDermott, Mathieu Coq, Michael Horgan & Michael Sheridan who are joining the Management Committee for the first time as Assistant Chairperson, IT Officer, Handball Officer & Coaching and Games Development Officer respectively. At the time of writing, nominations from clubs have been sought for the vacant Secretary & Assistant Secretary positions. You can view the full 2018 Committee list on our website here.
Global Games Development Fund
One of the many special guests we had during the weekend was Caoimhe Ní Néill, Games Development Operations Coordinator from GAA headquarters in Croke Park. The Deparment of Foreign Affairs, in conjunction with Croke Park runs the Global Games Development Fund, a grant program where international GAA clubs can apply for funding to promote Gaelic Games & Irish cultural activities. European clubs have benefited greatly from the Fund over the years and Caoimhe was here to explain the best ways to ensure an application has the highest chances of being successful. It was very informative and interactive, with all 80 attendees splitting into small groups to work on case studies. We would like to thank Caoimhe for the great presentation and hope that it will prove fruitful for our clubs who apply.
Below we will highlight three of the most significant motions that were discussed during the weekend in Leuven:
Motions 23 & 24 – Environmental Impact
Motions 23 & 24 were both focused on reducing the environmental impact of our tournaments throughout the season. The motions sought to reduce the amount of wastage at tournaments by encouraging organisers to use minimal packaging for lunches and to collect any leftover food at the end of the day so that it can be donated to a local food bank as well as reducing the amount of plastic water bottles distributed to players throughout the day of a tournament. Both motions were welcomed and were passed with overwhelming support.
Motion 14 – Regional Restructuring
Motion 14 directs the CCC to review the current competitions and regional structure and report back to the next convention with a proposal for the structure of competitions and regions from the following season. This motion is very significant as it may see the current structure of five regions in Europe change. The phenomenal growth in Europe has seen us cover an increasingly vast geographical area and a full review of our current structures will take place to see if a more effective set up can be established going forward.
Motion 16 – Competition Regulations 2018
Perhaps the biggest cheer of the entire weekend was for the adoption of the Draft Competition Regulations document for 2018. This version of the Competition Regulations document has been worked on for almost two years and was finally adopted in Leuven this year. We would like to thank everyone who worked tirelessly on this document, but special word must go to the CCC, who will now update the document with some decisions made at Convention and circulate to clubs for final approval.
All in all, the weekend was hugely constructive and the future of Gaelic Games Europe is extremely bright. We would like to thank all the delegates who attended and contributed to an excellent weekend as well as our VIP guests from Leinster GAA.