The New York chair slams O’Sullivan’s feedback

Joan Henchy, Chair of the New York County Board.  Image: Michael DorganJoan Henchy, Chair of the New York County Board. Image: Michael Dorgan

Joan Henchy, chairman of the New York County Board, has criticized comments made by her compatriot Patrick O’Sullivan of Kerry on the future of the GAA in the Big Apple.

Henchy expressed her “disappointment” to the delegate of the Kerry Central Council, whom she described as “misinformed and contactless”.

In an extensive podcast interview with The Long Hall, reported on by the Irish auditor during the week, O’Sullivan shot at GAA officials in New York, saying Croke Park should “take control of which direction they are going.” because if they don’t, the New York GAA will go from cap to hand all the time. “

Henchy expressed dismay at O’Sullivan’s claim that there will be no GAA in the area in 10 years unless a new approach to Gaelic games is adopted in New York.

“I cannot understand why such comments were made and our members and officers are extremely angry and upset about the comments,” she said.

“We cannot understand why a delegate of the Central Council has to devote himself to another district or give unsolicited advice.

“The remarks were unfounded and showed a marked lack of insight and understanding of the affairs of the New York Board. He didn’t realize that 45 adult clubs and 2,500 registered children are playing our games, that we have four development teams, one senior county team, and that we continue to enjoy great success at Féile and the World Games.

“He ignores the fact that all of these activities are carried out at a much higher cost for everyone involved, as New York teams travel to Ireland and the UK to compete.

“It’s also surprising to those involved to read his statement that the players are sitting at home waiting to be kicked out of the championship so they can raise $ 10,000 or $ 20,000 to play in New York. As someone as well versed in New York GAA as he does, he certainly knows that New York stopped all weekend gamblers 15 years ago, and he certainly knows that New York introduced its own law three years ago to prevent that someone played county football in Ireland could get a penalty for the summer in New York. On the other hand, maybe he’s really that misinformed and out of touch.

“His remarks about the lack of leadership and poor governance in the county are particularly offensive not only to current officials but also to generations of New York GAA leaders.

“He seems to have forgotten that the New York GAA has not only grown and expanded under the current leadership, but also in an environment that is often alien to the Gaelic Games. The fact that generations of people have been and continue to be helped by the New York GAA seems to have crossed his mind.

Former chairman of the board of Kerry GAA County, Patrick O'Sullivan.  Photo: INPHO / Morgan TreacyFormer chairman of the board of directors of Kerry GAA County, Patrick O’Sullivan. Photo: INPHO / Morgan Treacy

“Like all counties, New York has its challenges. One of them is the growth and expansion of facilities in an urban area. There is a definite shortage of affordable land in the New York metropolitan area, a reality that the delegate overlooked when advising the New York Board on facility development.

“There is also a certain irony in his comments on system development. Kerry has benefited greatly from the generosity of the GAA family in New York in developing facilities, but the delegate has ignored that generosity and advised on land purchases that are significantly more expensive.

“If the money Kerry GAA raised had been left behind in New York, perhaps New York could take the advice of the delegate.”

In her freshman year, Henchy experienced a baptism of fire as the first female chairman of the association’s 106-year outpost with the COVID-19 pandemic that has hit the New York area hard.

“These are difficult times and sport needs to take a back seat to what people’s real priorities are. We are currently at the epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic, with many millions of people in severe conditions and hundreds of thousands losing their jobs. “

The GAA community in New York is behind a massive support effort launched by Irish and Irish-Americans in the city last week that is organizing a major fundraiser in Manhattan, Queens and The Bronx.

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