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Seán Kelly hopeful that GAA will look at saving its birthplace

The former GAA president says he has received a positive response from the organisation this week about the future of the Hayes’ Hotel.

Hayes' Hotel in Thurles (File photo)
Hayes' Hotel in Thurles (File photo)
Image: Press Association Images

FORMER GAA PRESIDENT Seán Kelly has indicated that the organisation may look at saving Hayes’ Hotel in Tipperary, the birthplace of the GAA which recently went into receivership, following his approach to them in the last week.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie in Brussels, the current Fine Gael MEP said he has raised the matter with GAA general secretary Páraic Duffy who told him in a response that he will bring the matter to a meeting of the GAA Central Council at Croke Park this weekend.

Kelly wants the organisation to either buy the hotel outright or to enter into partnership with other bodies “to ensure that this iconic part of our heritage is preserved for posterity”.

Hayes’ Hotel went into receivership in April and remains open but there have been growing calls for the GAA to intervene.

A Labour senator, Denis Landy, has said it is “our duty to ensure that this iconic building is preserved, protected and handed on to future generations”.

Meanwhile, Kelly told this website: “We’re very lucky, unlike most organisations that were founded way back in the 19th century, that the exact place where it is located is still there.

“So now that it is still there we must ensure that it is preserved for posterity and I think the GAA has an important role to play in that.”

Kelly said he had written to the GAA a number of years ago, suggesting that it buy the hotel and run it commercially but was told that this is not something the organisation would engage in.

He believes that the GAA is increasingly aware of the need to preserve the hotel where the GAA was founded on 1 November 1884 by Michael Cusack and Maurice Davin.

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“This is bigger than just commercial activity and I’ve also suggested, by setting up a committee, they could look into partnerships and give themselves options which they mightn’t have looked at initially,” he said.

A spokesperson for the GAA was not available to comment at the time of publication.

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Hugh O'Connell

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