GAA warned over ‘Scrap Saturday’ collections

Michael McHugh

Reporter:

Michael McHugh

A lucrative “scrap” metal collection initiative that was providing a financial lifeline to many GAA clubs in the county could boil over into a real raging “row”. Donegal County Council has warned this week that there are strict regulations governing such collections and clubs must comply with these rules.

A lucrative “scrap” metal collection initiative that was providing a financial lifeline to many GAA clubs in the county could boil over into a real raging “row”. Donegal County Council has warned this week that there are strict regulations governing such collections and clubs must comply with these rules.

For months now GAA clubs in Donegal have been running what they dub “Scrap Saturday” events where they go out and collect all sorts of scrap metal from their areas but Donegal County Council say these collections need their permission. Clubs need a “Certificate of registration” in order to comply with the risk of environmental pollution.

GAA headquarters themselves have taken a less than enthusiastic view of such fundraising acvtivities. Last February, they raised concens over insurance issues in a note apparently issued to clubs in all counties. Part of the note read: “The Insurance Work Group have been advised that units are engaging in collection of scrap metal (household and other waste) as a fundraising activity.”

“This activity is not covered by the association’s liability insurance coverage. In addition, GAA/association properties should not be used under any circumstance for the collection or storage of such material.”

And now Donegal County Councl has also confirmed that clubs must get their permission to host such scrap metal collection days. In a statement issued to the Donegal Democrat it says: “Donegal County Council has recently been made aware of the intention of a number of GAA clubs to host a scrap metal collection day at their grounds. Whilst such a day can have a positive effect on the local community Donegal County Council must make all sporting organisations and communities aware that consent from the Council is necessary to host such an event. This waste activity may be authorised under a Certificate of Registration. The Council has this week written to the clubs that it is aware of that are planning such days and has also written to the Chairman of Donegal GAA.”

The Council said yesterday: “This certificate will ensure that clubs will comply with the Waste Management Act particularly in relation to the risk of environmental pollution and to ensure that satisfactory public liability insurance is in place”. They have also written to the Chairman of the GAA County Board.

Scrap metal collections have become a most unlikely saviour for a number of Donegal GAA clubs, as they struggle to raise funds to survive the challenges of economic survival during the country’s worst recession of modern times. Indeed, GAA headquarters had cast its own cold eye on proceedings, as far back as February, over “insurance” fears.

Despite this, the Donegal ‘Del Boys’ phenomenon, has grasped the imagination of grass roots GAA members, supporters and the public, as it costs the contributor nothing to donate an item and is financially rewarding for the clubs.

Householders, business premises and farmers are usually asked to get rid of unwanted items in storage in backyards, garages, sheds and farmyards including scrap cars, farm machinery, car/tractor batteries, ranges, copper cylinders, washing machines, fridges and boilers.

Four Masters Club Chairman Sean Dunnion told the Democrat: “This is one of a number of fundraising initiatives that move away slightly from the traditional methods of selling tickets for draws. It is mutually beneficial to both the club and the wider local community, by getting rid of unwanted items, while also helping clean up the local environment.”

Buncrana GAA Chairman Paul McGonigle explained: “Our main fund raiser each year is the Christmas Draw. Last year we were traipsing around in the snow and it was not nice. We have had a huge number of calls this week and typically elderly people are asking that items be collected. We also have the support of the local Tody Towns committee.”

He said that there had been some talk about insurance issues, but in their case, they had the services of a large secure yard, where donated items would be deposited and cleared by the recyclers at the end of the collection day.

“The Council will liaise with the various groups or organisations planning to host a scrap metal collection day and provide advice to them on applying for a Certificate of Registration. This certificate will ensure that clubs will comply with the Waste Management Act particularly in relation to the risk of environmental pollution and to ensure that satisfactory public liability insurance in place.”

They have urged groups who plan to host a scrap metal collection to make contact with Mr. Dearn McClintock Waste Regulations Officer (074) 91 72258 or Suzanne Tinney, Waste Awareness Officer 074 91 76276 as soon as possible to obtain consent for the planned activity.