CONCERNS have been raised over Ulster GAA’s policy of operating cashless ticket sales – with fears it is excluding older spectators from games.

Ulster GAA have been operating a cashless policy since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. In December 2020 the GAA signed a five-year contract with Ticketmaster after 10 years with, and due to the pandemic, they opted to make all tickets digital.

Now a petition has been launched 'Oppose Ulster GAA’s Cashless Policy’ which has attracted over 1,500 signatures. The petition states the policy contravenes the GAA’s commitment to being a grassroots community-based organisation and hampers those who may not have access to online banking or mobile phones, something which is still prevalent amongst many people in society, especially the elderly.

Brendan Mulgrew, former Public Relations Officer for Antrim GAA, said the GAA shouldn’t rule out the use of cash to purchase tickets to its games.

“I think the GAA overall needs to be proactive in ensuring that older people in particular are not excluded from games," he said.

"I know it is the trend across major events now that everything is done by app or card but we have to keep in mind that our spectator base does include a section of the population that doesn't typically use technology on a daily basis. We really should be going out of our way to encourage people to attend games, using as many means of entry as we can, including cash on the day. 

“The more options in place the better.”

Age Action Ireland have previously stated that around two-thirds of people over the age of 65 in Ireland don’t use the internet.

Readers have contacted the Andersonstown News via our social media channels to comment on the issue.

One user said: "[I was] at a game last year. My ticket wouldn’t scan because my phone screen was badly cracked, but still working, after ten minutes holding up the queue, they let me in, I think it’s disgusting, don’t think I’ll bother any more."

Another replied: "Not a fan, they won’t let you pay cash at the gate but as soon as you’re in the ground [they] will be looking you to pay cash for the half time draw!"

Ulster GAA and Antrim GAA have been approached for comment.