Chairperson Report (Unsaid)

This piece is the emotional report I wrote for the Club I had both founded and chaired since its formal existence in 2020 and before.

Due to unfortunate discordant circumstances within the club, I reformed the report and excluded all vulnerability.

Evening everyone and thank you for attending the second AGM for Na Gaeil Aeracha. I will begin my report with thanking everyone in the various forms for the work we have all put into Na Gaeil Aeracha. A strength of mine has always been observation – so note that I appreciate the effort and commitment from our players, committee members and management alike. It hasn’t gone unnoticed.

I believe the greatest movement this year was witnessing, and for those participating – in the glory provided by our LGFA team. From a take-off year of low numbers, our LGFA have shown us that their commitment and drive could never be questioned, and through the hard work and resolve of this year accomplished multiple wins, brilliant gameplay and unfathomable endurance. Their passion for improvement is something we should all massively applaud, as it draws nothing but inspiration and excitement as they continue moving up the ranks. Well done to all involved.

Our mission this year was to set up the GAA, and we accomplished that. I’ve been part of the team from since when it was ‘kickabouts’ in Phoenix Park and I am so proud of the first competitive year. While we didn’t ascertain any wins, the improvement is undeniable. And next year you will have your first win, and then your second and so on. It’s all on the cards. Keep that passion up, be relentless and go for it even if you doubt yourself. Nothing breaks that we cannot fix.

Emma had a statement at our last AGM of wanting Hurling and Camogie to be set up within NGA and we’ve had a lot of interest. Emma set up the pucabouts off her own back, and allowed the space to be created for those who wanted it, and for that we thank Emma on top of all of her duties. Now, coming into 2023 we have the official space for it be to ran. I’d like to thank those involved, particularly James Hayes for helping me help you. And of course, all those involved behind the scenes, too much to name. I wish you all the best for luck next year.

I think reflection is important and I’m sure we’re all sick of hearing that “it all started with a tweet.” The truth is this is it didn’t start with a tweet, but started a long, long time ago.

Regardless of its origins, there is an undeniable sense of content in knowing that there will never come a time where Na Gaeil Aeracha, in some shape or form will cease to exist. Because it’s within all of us and we are all of us, part of its story. Raising, teaching and learning. Na Gaeil Aeracha exists with its members who have travelled abroad and couldn’t play this year. They’re still part of the club. Na Gaeil Aeracha is still prominent, undoubtedly, in the spirit of those who plan to travel, or cannot commit to the team for a variety of reasons – they embody it, and it embodies them. It’s in the thoughts, in the support, it’s in the heart.

We’re all aware that a lot of us founding members are leaving at a committee level. I believe that with us as founders, we have a deep understanding of the club’s missions and values, and we have done all we set out to – we brought together our community and created a safe space for queer people in Irish sports, through LGFA, Gaeil Football, Hurling and Camogie.

To Emma, Caoimhe, Se and Luke, my fellow founders of this life-changing plan, I am sad to see us – all of us – move away from it. But we have put much more than two years work into this, and we certainly deserve the break.

Luke, the earliest associate, I wish you the best in your travels and career, and I hope you hang onto the memories of us discussing in The Globe the aesthetic and mission of the club. I speak for both of us when I say our vision was cute, but nothing to what NGA has become. We are both capable and resourceful.

Se, you have kept me calm a lot more than you’ll know as we navigated forward – you have always been easy to follow and have an innate ability to allow your expertise to be expressed in simple format so as to be concise. Your assurance has allowed me to be more confident in my role and in my life, to stop doubting and overthinking. That’s something I get to take with me. Thank you.

Emma and Caoimhe – you are both indescribable credits to this club and to me – I can’t even begin to describe what you’ve done for everyone in this room and beyond. You both have my undying respect and admiration and I look forward to journeying on and spending time with you outside the pressures of our common commitment.

Our second year was to ensure the running of the GAA alongside the LGFA, and we have accomplished that. The seeds have grown into standing plants, and it isn’t something we talk about, how much work goes on behind the scenes because we want to provide the best quality of a club we can, and we have been its first line of defense. I can acknowledge the shortcomings of the club, hopes and ambitions – gifts we wanted to give to you all to show our love for you. Which didn’t come into fruition. I hope you all know that nobody holds those failures with more pain than I do. Not because I can see the stress my committee have been under, but because I know across the board all we have wanted is to gift you all the best possible experience because I think the world of you all, and feel protective over my members. I hope my mindset of solutions over problems carries on, and we find continued strength in resolution and adaptability.

I spoke earlier that Na Gaeil Aeracha is in the heart and spirit of those here today, and beyond, all over the world. I hope that really registers with us all. And more on that – I hope we understand that NGA is in the hearts of people who are tucked into corners of the country which are isolated and may not have access to resources which they need to understand who they are. It’s in the hidden hearts of people who are scared to express themselves and remain cloaked, which is an element of humanity we can all identify with here. Na Gaeil Aeracha is a beacon to the youth, as they grow and perhaps find themselves in a world they are made to feel like they don’t belong to. It’s in the elderly, who see with smiles that something like this exists – finally. And it’s in our families, those of us fortunate enough to be able to relay ourselves to them.

And for those of us who can’t or have struggled to. Na Gaeil Aeracha is that family. And we support you.

There is one last thing I’d like to say, from a personal standpoint. I’ve never been proud of myself, because I’ve never had anybody proud of me. You get lost in that. I know I was. But through the strength of my many friends I’ve created, I gathered some support and some strength and through Na Gaeil Aeracha I was able to have conversations I never thought would come with my family. And just this year had my da told me he was proud of me. All thanks to Na Gaeil Aeracha, and the spirit you’s have all mustered in me. Thanks to you, I finally get to start working on a relationship which didn’t exist before. I look forward to a year of free time that I can spend working on a bond that I have always craved.

Thank you, everyone.