GPA NEC and Board Update


GPA NEC and Board Update

  • Mayo footballer Tom Parsons is the new Chairman of the GPA’s NEC
  • Parsons succeeds Seamus Hickey who will remain part of the NEC
  • Wexford’s Matt O’Hanlon becomes the GPA’s new Secretary
  • Former DCU President, Brian MacCraith named as new Chairman of GPA Board of Directors

The Gaelic Players Association (GPA) is delighted to announce that Mayo footballer Tom Parsons has been ratified by the association’s National Executive Committee (NEC) as its new Chairman.  Tom is one of the country’s most highly respected players and is held in high esteem by both his fellow players and GAA supporters.  He has served as the GPA NEC Secretary since February 2019.

He takes over the position from Seamus Hickey who has stepped down after five years in the role.  During his tenure, Seamus played an integral role in the leadership of the GPA. He was a key player in negotiating a funding agreement with the GAA in 2016 which allowed the GPA to expand its supports and services for players and former players. Among many roles, Seamus represented the players’ strongly and strategically as our representative in the GAA’s Central Council and also at GAA Congress.  Seamus will remain part of the NEC.

Wexford hurler Matt O’Hanlon takes up the role of Secretary, vacated by Tom.  Matt has been a respected voice on the NEC during his time involved, and those leadership qualities will stand him in good stead in his new position.

Both Tom and Matthew bring with them the practical advantage of being current players and a wealth of experience from their professional lives that will be of significant benefit to the GPA Leadership as we advance.

The GPA is also delighted to announce the appointment of Professor Brian MacCraith as the new Chairman of its Board of Directors.  Brian replaces Fergus Clancy who had served as the Chairman since January 2017 before stepping down at our Annual General Meeting in July.

Brian recently finished a very successful 10-year term (July 2010 to July 2020) as President of Dublin City University (DCU), where, among a broad range of initiatives, he actively supported the development and growth of the sport with a particular emphasis on Gaelic games.

During this time, DCU developed significantly in terms of scale, footprint, and international reputation. It became Ireland’s fastest-growing university, rising to more than 18,250 students in 2020, and added three campuses (DCU St. Patrick’s Campus, DCU All Hallows Campus, and DCU Alpha, the university’s Innovation Campus) in the North Dublin region.

Brian placed a strong emphasis on equality, diversity and inclusion and developed several significant initiatives in this context.  He has also chaired many critical reviews on behalf of the Irish Government and has been a board member of IBEC, Chamber Choir Ireland and Social Entrepreneurs Ireland.

These appointments were approved by the GPA’s NEC at a remote meeting on Friday, September 18th.

Speaking to mark the announcement, GPA CEO, Paul Flynn, said; “I want to congratulate Tom and Matt on their appointments as Chairman and Secretary respectively.  They are both hugely respected by all within the GAA community and have been highly influential in their roles on the NEC to date.  I look forward to working alongside both and wish them well in their new positions.

“I want to say a particular word of thanks to Seamus Hickey.  I am delighted that Seamus will be continuing as part of the NEC.  He has shown and continues to show, an unwavering commitment and integrity working on behalf of the fellow players, at all times putting them first.

“The GPA is delighted to have Brian MacCraith join the GPA Board as our Chairman. Brian’s experience and wealth of knowledge will be a great addition to our Board, and we are looking forward to working with him to continue to drive governance standards and execute on our strategic priorities.

“I would also like to take the opportunity, on behalf of all the GPA members, to thank Fergus Clancy for the stellar work he completed at the GPA. The leadership shown by Fergus has been invaluable to the team at the GPA, and we wish him every success in the future.”

GPA NEC Chairman Tom Parsons said;I am both delighted and honoured to have been chosen by my fellow players to represent them as their Chairman.  I believe strongly in the work the GPA does on behalf of its members and look forward to working closely with the NEC, the Board and the GPA staff to meet the challenges faced by the modern inter-county player, who gives so much to our games and communities across Ireland.

“I am also extremely grateful for the work Seamus Hickey has put in during his tenure as Chairman.  He has set a superb example and very high standards which I will now work towards building on to drive the GPA forward in what is a much-changed environment both within our games and globally given the events that have transpired in 2020.”

GPA NEC Secretary Matt O’Hanlon added; It’s a privilege to have been entrusted with the position of GPA Secretary by my fellow players. I look forward to working closely with our new Chairman and all the team as we continue to represent the voice of inter-county players, support their development and protect their welfare. 

GPA Board Chairman Professor Brian Mac Craith said; “I am very pleased to take on this role with the GPA. Gaelic games are an essential element of Irish culture, and I look forward to assisting the association in terms of player welfare, development, strategy implementation and organisational governance.”

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