INTERVIEW

My Tipp Life interview with Tipperary County GAA Board chairman John Devane

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My Tipp Life interview with Tipperary County GAA Board chairman John Devane

John Devane

Tipperary County GAA Board Chairman, John Devane (Boherlahan Dualla), is missing all the hurling and football games right now but he retains his grá for The Premier County and for his native parish.

What's your idea of a perfect day, or perfect weekend in Tipperary?

I suppose Munster final day in Thurles stands out always. When Tipperary are involved it is all the better but for atmosphere, excitement and sheer joy of a big crowd, Liberty Square on the morning of a Munster final has to be the best.

Who has made the greatest contribution to Tipperary in your lifetime - and why?

The Tipperary man who has made the greatest contribution to Ireland and indeed Europe over the last 30 or so years has to be Tony Ryan.

His Ryanair has made the world accessible to so many people who otherwise would never have got the chance. It is indeed ironic though that that very accessibility has contributed hugely to the current coronavirus crisis.

In my view the man that has made the greatest contribution to Tipperary was Canon John Hayes, founder of Muintir na Tire.
This organisation played a vital part in community life at a time when very little was being done for local communities. And because of those foundations, there are now many vibrant communities throughout the county.

What's your first Tipperary memory?

Going to Thurles for a suit for my Communion. Walked across fields to village to meet Bus. Toddy was driver. Got off at aunts pub, Mixie O'Connells pub in Liberty Square. Then up to JK Moloneys drapery shop, where Supermacs is now. Long time ago!

What's your favourite part of the county - and why?

Rock of Cashel. I see it in the distance every day. A landmark that dominates the countryside and a symbol I think of Tipperary defiance. There is so much history to the place and sometimes I think we take it for granted.

What do you think gives Tipperary its unique identity?

Tipperary people give the county its unique identity. Whether its in our work, culture, sporting or leisure pursuits, Tipperary people try to be the best they can be. And the proof is in the many great Tipperary people who reached the summit in whatever they set out to do. Long may it continue.

Do you have a favourite local writer or author?

Charles Kickham captured the Tipperary spirit and defiance perfectly in his famous book. 'Knocnagow. The homes of Tipperary'. Written almost 150 years ago, it was published thirty or so years after the great Famine. Shane McGowan has written some wonderful songs. Another Tipperary legend.

What's the biggest challenge facing the county today and if you had the power to change one thing in, or about Tipperary, what would it be?

The local communities of Canon Hayes time have in many cases been decimated by the increasing urbanisation of the country. There is absolutely no need for the population to be moving constantly eastward towards Dublin.

It affects people in so many ways. From a GAA point of view, bringing players back midweek for training and games is difficult. The motorway system has helped but that very motorway system and better broadband and services should also mean that industry etc should be able to move to the people rather than the other way around.