Peter Fitzpatrick was elected chairman of Louth County Board at Monday night's Convention held in Darver Centre of Excellence. (Pic: Arthur Kinahan)
I’m honoured and humbled to have been elected chairman of Louth County Board. Moving forward, I can guarantee we’re going to be a team; no primadonnas; everyone working together, and for the absolute benefit of Louth GAA as a whole.
Louth GAA is going to get back to the top and I will leave no stone unturned to get us back to there. And don’t think I’m a fool, I’m not, I’ve been a winner all my life. People said, ‘Fitzpatrick, you’ve no chance going for the Dáil’. But I’m still here.
I will lead openly and transparently and work with anyone who wants to help Louth GAA. It’s very important that we get people involved and get energy around the county again. I was at the O’Byrne Cup game against Offaly and there was nobody there from Louth, which I found very surprising, and disappointing.
We need to find out why and address these issues. We have to get people excited and as the great Charlie McAlister used to say, be ‘Louth and Proud’.
I will sit down with all the county managers and find out what they need. I will work with clubs, and I can guarantee that no club will be levied or burdened with the cost of the new stadium, which will be built. Clubs are doing great work and that’s the last thing that they need, because there’s some great volunteers.
It’s difficult to put into words what Louth GAA means to myself and my family. It was remarked to me after my speech at Convention about my passion and how palpable it was. That can be difficult to replicate in a piece like this, but all I can say is that I played for Louth seniors for 16 years, the minors, U21s and managed the seniors for three years. Louth GAA is one of the most important things in my life and I will do everything possible to make sure that we deliver a stadium and get structures and people involved that will get us back to where we should be.
And there is no ‘us’ and ‘them’ in this county; there should be no divide. I don’t want people to say they’re from Omeath or Ardee or Tallanstown or Drogheda. I want them to be proud to say they’re from Louth. We’re from Louth.
I want to see the best players in this county playing, no matter where you come from. You don’t come from Omeath or Drogheda or wherever. Again, you come from Louth.
Ultimately, people should, and will, judge me on my term as chairman. If I’m no good, then get rid of me after a year. But I can promise honesty and transparency. If somebody wants to ask a question at a County Board meeting, ask the question and we’ll answer it. If you have a query, ring me, or come up to me.
The media, whether it be LMFM, The Dundalk Democrat, The Argus, Drogheda Independent, or whoever, I, and we, want to work with you to promote Louth GAA. We have to be above criticism if it’s warranted, but I will work with the media, because they play a very important role in our association. We need to respect and work with them.
There are problems at underage football, in urban areas especially. We will get to the heart of these issues and try to improve them to make sure our young footballers have every chance of making it to the top.
I will give everything I have to this position. I’m Louth and very proud.