Tributes to former GAA president

Former GAA president tributes
Padraig O Rian in conversation with former GAA President Jack Boothman. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE

Jack Boothman, the first Church of Ireland president of the GAA, was buried in his beloved Blessington, Co. Wicklow last Friday.

Mr. Boothman, who died on Tuesday 10 May, was widely recognised as being instrumental in pressing for the abolition of the GAA’s rule 21 which banned members of the British Army and of the UK’s security forces from playing Gaelic games. A veterinary surgeon by profession, he served as the association’s president between 1994 and 1997.

GAA president Aogán Ó Fearghail said: “Jack Boothman was a man I considered to be a friend and he served the GAA with distinction. “I had the privilege of knowing him since the 1980s and have very fond memories of attending an Irish language course with him and Joe McDonagh in the Meath Gaeltacht of Ráth Chairn. He was great company.

Former GAA president tributes
14 May 2016; Wicklow players stand for a minute silence in honour of the late Jack Boothman, former GAA President, before the Leinster GAA Football Senior Championship, Round 1, Laois v Wicklow in O’Moore Park, Portlaoise, Co. Laois. Photo by Piaras O Midheach/Sportsfile

“He had great interest in the club and the last conversation I had with him recently he told me ‘don’t forget about the clubs.’

“On behalf of the Association as a whole I would like to offer my condolences to his wife Nuala and his extended family and his wide circle of friends.” Blessington GAA cub, with which he was involved right up to his death, said: “We were immensely proud of his achievements nationally and know he took huge pride in his own club, none more so than when we hosted Feile.”

Former GAA president tributes
Jack Boothman, left, the outgoing President of the GAA , places the medal on the lapel of Joe McDonagh, the newly elected president at the GAA Congress. Photograph Ray McManus, © SPORTSFILE.

Former Wicklow PRO Jackie Napier praised the significant work carried out by Jack Boothman during his lifetime involvement with the GAA. Including as GAA president between 1994 and 1997. “At the time Jack went to nearly every GAA field in the country,” said Mr. Napier.

“He was respected not only in Wicklow but all over the country for his work. The development of Croke Park had a lot to do with Liam Mulvihill, then Ard Stiurtheoir, and Jack, who were both very forward thinking.

“Most of the planning for Croke Park was done during his term, and it was a very important time for the GAA,” he added. He is survived by his wife Nuala (whom he married in 1961) and children Siobhán, Robert, Patricia, Janet, John and Catríona and their spouses and all the grandchildren.

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