Tuesday, December 15, 2020

A very different convention to what we are usually used to takes place tonight (December 15) over video link. TOMMY MURPHY looks back at some memories from more orthodox conventions.

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LIKE all things that Covid 19 has changed in 2020, Cumann Luthchleas Gael Ceatharlach is no different as they get ready to host the 133rd Carlow GAA Convention, it will certainly be a Convention with a difference.

A view from the 2019 County Convention. Tonight’s Convention will be very different.
Photo: michaelorourkephotography.ie

Over the next couple of weeks we will look back over Carlow GAA County Conventions for the past 70 years from 1950 to 2020. Back over the years at Convention clubs would put in a petition seeking permission to hold the next Convention perhaps to coincide with a particular club anniversary or past club event. If this happened other clubs that had the same idea would withdraw in favour and their turn would also come. It was always an honour for a GAA club to host Convention. Up until 1987 Convention was always held on the last Sunday in January, started at 2pm and up to about 30 years ago could go on until 8.30pm or 9pm in an effort to get the ‘Clar’ finished, even then Convention might only be half way through and all business was put on hold until the adjourned Convention which was always the following Saturday evening.

Prior to convention the reigning county secretary had a lot of work on hand, a detailed secretary’s report covering all aspects of the workings during the year at club and county level was to be written. The smallest detail had to be entered or some delegate could see fit to raise the reason it was omitted which he was entitled to do. The county treasurer also had a very busy job in compiling all financial details, dockets, receipts and submitting all in order to the firm of accountants who then went through all accounts with a fine comb and then submit in detailed form all the financial workings and what position the board is in at certain date and sign off. For the past 25 years plus that date is the last day of October up until then the date was the last day of November. All sitting officers have also to compile a short report on the workings of whatever sub-committee’s they were working on during the year and submit to the county secretary. The secretary also has to compile the list of officers name, all the outgoing officers, and their clubs and also name the names of people and their club that have let their name go forward to contest a position for any officership, finally to be included are the motions submitted from the clubs. Clubs can submit a motion(s) if they so wish to change, modify or adopt the status quo; on any part of Cumann Luthchleas Gael. When the county secretary has all material in printed booklet form copies are then circulated all GAA clubs in the county, so club committees can discuss all aspects of the knowledge in the booklet as they so wish arriving at who their convention delegates are directed to vote for, and also which way to vote on motions that will suit or seem to suit the club.

Democracy is one of the great attributes of the GAA meaning that at the very foundation the club, every club in Ireland and overseas has a voice that can go right to the top if they so wish. Clubs should never lose sight of this and never let it be taken away from them, and should also use it for the betterment of their clubs at grass root levels. Elected representatives at the highest level must always remember that they are also club people and that is where they first cut their teeth.

Back to a County Convention in Borris in 1965, for three young gosoons – Sean Keogh (Naomh Eoin), Ollie Hynes (Cournellan) and Tommy Murphy (Naomh Eoin) it was their first baptism of fire to the inner workings of the GAA. While we didn’t know many at that meeting one thing that struck the three of us was we thought they were talking like barristers, and it was many years after before we got to or were allowed to utter something at convention.

However with booklets from 1950 to the present day one half page has remained faithfully and never changed-

Standing Orders for Convention

In order that the proceedings of the convention be carried out without delay, the following standing orders will be observed

  1. The proposer of a Resolution or of an Amendment thereto may speak for five minutes.
  2. A delegate speaking to a Resolution or an Amendment must not exceed three minutes.
  3. The proposer of a Resolution or Amendment may speak a second time for three minutes, before a vote is taken but no other delegate may speak a second time to the same Resolution or Amendment
  4. Chairman may at any time he considers a matter has been sufficiently discussed call on the Proposer for a reply and when that has been given, a vote must be taken.
  5. A delegate may, with the consent of the Chairman, move “that the question be now put,” after which when the proposer has spoken a vote must be taken.
  6. Standing Orders shall not be suspended for the purpose of considering any matter not on the Agenda except by the consent of a majority equal to two-thirds of those present and entitled to vote.

Many hard working voluntarily people always loved convention especially if they hadn’t to speak as it was the only great social outlet where all club people could meet and talk and have a laugh for one day in the year.

Would like to hear from people with good hearted stories from conventions now long gone contact [email protected] 087 6256028

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