21 October 2017
By Bryan T. Smyth
The designation of ladies football and camogie finals as free-to-air is an important step, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
Seanad spokesperson on Communications, Tim Lombard – from Carrigaline, Co Cork – said the designation of these events is an acknowledgment of the valuable contribution that the representative associations make to women’s sport throughout Ireland.
Senator Lombard said: “The ladies’ senior finals deserve this special recognition that is already afforded to the men’s senior finals.
“The designation of these events is an acknowledgment of the valuable contribution that the representative associations make to women’s sport throughout Ireland.
“Ladies football and camogie players are hugely valuable role models for girls around the country who they inspire to get involved in their local clubs.
“In some cases but definitely in hurling, the camogie and ladies football championships have been far more entertaining than the men’s championships. As a result, both attendance and viewing figures continue to increase for these events.
“This year alone as many as 46,286 people attended the senior and intermediate ladies football finals in Croke Park. This is an increase of approximately 13,000 on the 2016 final and makes it the best attended female sporting event in Europe this year.
“Not only that, attendance at the event was on a par with a number of other top sporting occasions this year such as the Munster senior hurling final, which had an attendance of over 45,000 or the PRO12 final between Munster and Scarlets that had an attendance of 44,000 people.
“A draft order designating these events was referred to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment.
“The committee fully supported the designation of these events. Earlier this week, Dáil Éireann passed this motion recognising the importance of the senior ladies finals, and now it has been passed by the Seanad this week.
“This is a good news story. Participation in women’s sports has to be a priority for the Government.
“It is positive and ground-breaking to have these important finals designated as free-to-air.
“In my part of the world, both sports have great following. This year, in particular, we had great success in camogie but traditionally, the ladies football final would be a great source of pride in Cork.
“This is an acknowledgement of the progress these sports have made and of where the recognition of female sports has to go. This is an important step and we have to push the boundaries in other parts of the country and the world.”