Cumann Lúthchleas Gael Uladh

Ulster GAA unveils ‘Belfast Rising’

May 1st, 2009

belfast-strategy-launch1.jpgUlster GAA today published a confident proposal for promoting Gaelic Games across Belfast, as Ireland’s Second City.

The launch held in the Balmoral Hotel in West Belfast, attracted a large audience of key people from GAA clubs, Universities, the media and local government along with a number of high profiled Assembly Members and Belfast City Councillors.

The Strategy was officially launched by the new GAA President Christy Cooney.  Entitled ‘Ardú Bhéal Feirste: A Plan for the GAA across Ireland’s Second City’ the proposal focuses on four themes: Coaching, Games and Participation; Physical Development; Club Governance; and Culture and Heritage.  Its aim is ‘to see Gaelic Games and Culture making a visible and tangible contribution to community; sporting; social; and economic life in Ireland’s second City’.

Speaking at the launch Ulster GAA President Tom Daly said, “As Ireland’s second city and Ulster’s largest urban area Belfast is of key strategic importance to the GAA.  It has strong and proud GAA history, one of success and above all of commitment, often against odds and in circumstances not experienced by GAA communities anywhere else in Ireland.

“I am confident that with the implementation of this strategy the GAA in Belfast will be strong again and will act as a flagship for the GAA in our Province.  ‘Belfast Rising‘ is our aim as well as the title for our strategy.”

GAA President Christy Cooney said, “This is a carefully considered and well thought out plan and one with potential to make a real difference to the presence and strength of our games in Belfast.

“The whole issue of urbanisation is high up on my list of priorities and I sincerely hope that this project proves to be a massive success and one that we can learn from as we turn our attention to our other urban bases in the months and years ahead.”

Key targets of the Strategy include:

Coaching, Games and Participation

  • At least 10 GAA Community Coaches for the Belfast Urban Area
  • An increase in games participation of at least 20% by 2014
  • A specific Belfast Continuing Professional Development programme for volunteer club coaches
  • Cross Club summer and Easter coaching camps
  • City Based Development Squads
  • Enhanced Club-School links through new coaching initiatives and programmes
  • Programmes to attract new participations who traditionally would have no involvement in the GAA.

Physical Development

  • Belfast GAA Urban Centre of Participation and Excellence that includes at least three new full-size pitches for club use in North and West Belfast
  • At least two new full-size GAA pitches for use in the South and East Belfast
  • Enhancement of Casement Park to an appropriate standard for the main GAA stadium in Ireland’s second city.

Club Governance

  • New group comprising of Belfast GAA club officials, Antrim, Down and Ulster GAA officials to drive the development of the GAA in Belfast
  • At least two Development Officers to support Club officials in administration governance and ongoing club development
  • A new Brand and Identity for the GAA in Belfast
  • A “joined-up” club led approach to the overall development of the GAA in the City
  • A strong GAA presence and linkage with all local government and relevant public bodies in the city.
  • Specific Belfast GAA Club Development Seminars and Volunteer training events.

Culture and Heritage

  • Revival of Scór in the City
  • Introduction of new Specific Belfast GAA Irish language Courses
  • Development of a Belfast GAA History.

The event was addressed by GAA President Christy Cooney, Ulster President Tom Daly, Junior Minister Gerry Kelly MLA, Chairman of Antrim County Board Dr John McSparran, Chairman of Down County Board Kevin Bell and Chairman of the GAA Strategic Planning Workgroup Jim Murray.

In attendance were MP for South Belfast Alasdair McDonnell MP MLA and Chairman of the Assembly’s Culture, Arts and Leisure Committee Barry McElduff MLA.


Ardú Bhéal Feirste: A Plan for the GAA across Ireland’s Second City

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