Aontú Leader Peadar Tóibín has called on the government and the GAA to ensure that broadcast rights for GAA Games be “kept out of the hands of Amazon Prime” when they come up for negotiation and review later this year.
“The GAA is an integral part of our heritage, the GAA is more than just a sport,” Deputy Tóibín said.
“The revival of the Irish language and the flourishing of the GAA games are key to our identity as Irish people.
“The GAA is even central to our formation as a state.
“Only in November of last year, Irish people tuned in for free to watch the heart-breaking commemoration of Bloody Sunday by the GAA”.
The Aontú Leader said that selling the rights for Gaelic Games to corporate giant Amazon would be a “betrayal” of all the volunteers who give their time and energy to the GAA.
“Amazon, which has been supercharged by Covid, has steam rolled thousands of Irish jobs and businesses,” he said.
“It has a radically unfair competitive advantage over small to medium sized Irish businesses.
“Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is worth $180 billion.
“This is an obscene amount of money for any one person to own.
“Its medieval, especially given the poverty of billions of other people on the planet.
“Jeff’s company paid no Federal tax in the US in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and in 2019 paid at a rate of 1.2%.
“How are Irish shops, who have to pay fair rates of tax and business rates, to be expected to compete with dozens of Amazon trucks rolling into Rosslare every month.
“We in Aontú are looking to legislate for a business rate to be applied to companies such as Amazon in order to level the playing field.
“If Amazon suddenly have broadcasting rights, tens of thousands of people will be denied the ability to watch our heritage being played out on our screens.
“Working men and women, and communities will have to further line the pockets of Jeff Bezos to watch their County in action.
“Taxpayer monies go into funding the GAA.
“Volunteers and fundraising keep clubs and county structures afloat.
“The ethos of the GAA is for the love of the game.
“We understand that the GAA are under pressure financially and we are calling in the government to step up and fill the breach.
“To suddenly sell those rights to Amazon would be a betrayal of those volunteers, of that ethos that has always been at the heart of the GAA.”