Friday 26 May 2017

GAA unlikely to investigate Lyons 'cash' allegations

Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

THE GAA have declined to comment on the latest payments-to-managers controversy which was sparked by sensational claims that Mayo asked Tommy Lyons to name his price to take over the county in September 2010.

No formal decision on whether Croke Park will launch a probe into the claims is likely to be taken until the next meeting of the Management Committee next Friday week.

However, it's improbable that the GAA will proceed with an investigation because of the conflict of evidence between Lyons and the Mayo County Board.

"We could spend lots of time on this and get nowhere. If A and B give different versions of the story, what do you do about it? I can't say for sure it won't be investigated, but, even if it is, I wouldn't be too hopeful about getting anywhere on it. It's reports like these that underline why it's crucial for us to sort out the whole area of managers and how they're dealt with," said a senior GAA source.

The controversy erupted in a week when county boards were voting overwhelmingly to back a proposal to strengthen Croke Park's hand on deals with managers.

expenses

Lyons said that in the course of being interviewed for the Mayo job in September 2010, he was invited by a county official to write out how much money he wanted for the job. "I was asked to put it in an envelope," he said.

The claim was contradicted by James Waldron, the then Mayo County Board chairman, stating that discussions on money would have been confined to expenses, in particular whether Lyons would be charging for travelling from his house in Dublin or his holiday home in Louisburgh.

Lyons insists that his version of events is accurate and since he has nothing to gain by making the claim, it leaves Mayo under a cloud of suspicion.

However, since there's no paper trail, it's difficult to see how a formal investigation would yield any definitive results.

The latest controversy highlights the need to regularise the complex area of managerial deals, a process which will gather pace, once Management discusses the full returns from county boards on the discussion document which was prepared by director general Paraic Duffy.

There has been sweeping support for Option Two, which advocates retaining the current system of paying managers expenses only. However, it would be backed up by new powers, designed to eradicate under-the-counter payments, a practice which GAA president Christy Cooney has described as "a cancer running through our organisation."

Irish Independent

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