Aidan O’Rourke, the chairperson of the Carbery GAA Board, feels that Cork County Board and the wider GAA must revise a decision to only operate cashless entry to games.
At monthly county board meetings, delegates regularly bring up the issue, saying that it especially disenfranchises older GAA members who may not be fully familiar with the technology required to purchase tickets online and scan at the gate.
While O’Rourke accepts that there is no issue for the vast majority, he feels that these people can’t be left behind and that having a single cash turnstile at Páirc Uí Chaoimh or Páirc Uí Rinn would go a long way towards solving the matter.
“There’s a number of people after saying it to me that they’re finding it difficult,” he says, “especially the older people.
“In fairness, these people have given great service to the GAA down through the years. They are in the minority, to be fair, and we all have to accept that we need to move with the times but it isn’t everybody has a card and the ability to use them or is computer-literate.
“I would be saying that the GAA might need to think about this again. We’re a community organisation and I think that we could facilitate those people by having cash at one gate. I don’t think it’s a whole pile to ask for.”
That one small change would go a long way towards inclusivity as opposed to anyone feeling excluded.
“To be fair, we’d all be slow to ask somebody to do something for us Just one gate for these people, they can go in with their cash, they’re independent. After all, cash is still a legal currency in this country, but unfortunately, we’re seeing it in restaurants and other places that they’re going completely cashless. I think it’s a wrong move, really.”
While O’Rourke understands that going cashless is far more secure, he makes the point that inclusivity must be paramount, especially when it has been a topic raised more than once.
“It has been brought up at a number of county board meetings,” he says, “there’s hardly one passes where someone isn’t saying something about it.
“Let’s be fair about it too – the county board, for administrative purpose, know that it’s much handier to be cashless.
“I think that they should go back and look at it – and Croke Park as well, as it’s obviously coming from there.
“They’d need to go and listen to their local communities, listen to the clubs and what they’re saying. To be fair to the board, I know that they put a system in place where the secretary of each club can get a quantity of tickets and just pay for what he or she sells.
“That’s putting a bit of an onus on them as they’re all volunteers, the same as the rest of us.
“I would just ask the county board to look at it again as it’s not a huge pile to ask. Our senior citizens, great members down through the years, they deserve to be given the choice, if they want to go to a match, not to be inhibited and have to ask somebody to buy a ticket for them.”
For now, all Carbery divisional championship games are cash affairs but O’Rourke accepts that a move towards electronic sales methods will have to be looked at.
“As far as we’re concerned, we’re cash at the gate,” he says, “but we’ll have to look at the other side of it.
“We’ll have to examine that in the near future and put a system in place where you’ll be able to use both.
“We haven’t heard an awful lot of people shouting at us to be able to use the card but we know, to be fair, that young people and the younger generation are well used to tapping their cards and we’ll have a facility there for them as well.”