Hard border will hit the GAA, warns ex-president Quinn

FORMER GAA president Peter Quinn has said the sporting organisation will feel the pain of Brexit as much as the business and farming sector.
Mr Quinn made his remarks as he addressed a “Tyrone Talks Brexit” event at the GAA Centre in Garvaghy. The GAA is one of many groups concerned about the possibility of a hard-border, which hindered travelling fans and teams from the north and south during the Troubles.
Speaking to this newspaper recently, Mr Quinn echoed warnings that Brexit will not be good news for the North’s economy, especially for the farming sector and that it could be particularly damaging in border areas.
At the GAA gathering, he added that the restoration of a hard border is inevitable. The businessman cautioned that if agriculture faces such a threat then it is certain that this will trickle down to the GAA.
“The GAA has always had a huge rural and agricultural constituency. The farming community is crucial to our clubs, not just those in border areas but right across this entire island. If they suffer, our rural clubs will suffer too.
“It is probably too early to be sure, but clearly Brexit has the potential to damage significant parts of rural Ireland, its clubs, the players who represent them and sustain those communities because of the impact it will have on the viability of the rural economy. It would be far, far better for the GAA in Ulster and nationally if Brexit did not occur,” he said.
Mr Quinn also warned of a possible rise in emigration and that increased admission prices to games would be unavoidable: “If I was betting my money, it would be on a noticeable increase. For an organisation like the GAA, whose primary focus is on youth and on providing social, cultural and sporting activities and proving outlets for young people, Brexit raises the whole issue of investment in job creation.”
“Costs will have to be cut. In inflationary conditions, those who refuse to cut costs rarely survive unless they have an unique product. We in the GAA have a product that is pretty unique,” he added.

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