President to-be Jarlath Burns planning for the future

By Shaun Casey

JARLATH Burns will be the next President of the GAA, but his term doesn’t get underway until 2024, so for the next 12 months, Burns will be looking ahead and putting plans in place for his three-year tenure, without stepping on the toes of the current President Larry McCarthy.

Burns was elected as the next GAA President back in February at the second time asking, having just lost out to McCarthy in 2020. But the 1999 Ulster Championship winning captain is looking forward to getting started.

The Silverbridge man doesn’t have a say in how the GAA is currently being run, and Burns will hope his experience at club level, where he is currently the Harps’ chairman, can transfer to the much bigger role of presidency.

“There are all of the committees that I’m looking at now and I’m starting to look at people that I would want to put into those committees who would share my views and pursue the agendas I would have for the GAA.

“I will say that we are a very well-run organisation, we are an extremely well-run organisation, and we should be very proud of that,” added the former Armagh midfielder, whose son Jarly Og Burns is a member of the current Armagh team.

“I’m a chairman of a very, very big club and when you are chairperson of a club, you have to gain consensus. You have to get people to believe and so a lot of that would be persuasion and communication and getting people around to the way you view the GAA and hopefully they share your vision.”

When he does finally replace the outgoing president, Burns has warned that he won’t be able to make immediate changes to the organisation, like many people may expect him to.

Pressing issues such as integration, Casement Park and the amateur status of the GAA have all been discussed during Burns’ run for office, but he can’t evoke change on his own, so planning ahead will be crucial over the next 12 months.

“I get a wee bit scared when I hear people saying that I’m going to make a whole lot of changes, I’m not really, I don’t have the power to do it. It’s not like the President of America where you can bring in an executive orders and change this and that and that’s good.

“The incoming president doesn’t actually have much of a standing within the GAA. You have been elected and you don’t do anything until the following year so I’ll be a member of the centre council and a member of the GAA management committee.

“That’s about it. You have to be very careful about how you behave and really not bumping into the furniture and allowing the president to do his work, that’s really it. It’s really keeping your head done and just allowing the president to be the leader of the GAA.”

Jarlath Burns is representing Armagh in the Ulster GAA skydive on Sunday alongside the likes of Down’s Benny Coulter, Monaghan’s Dessie Mone and Antrim’s Jane Adams to raise money for both the Patrick G Johnston Centre for Cancer Reasearch at Queen’s University Belfast and the Ambulance NI service. For more information visit

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