Hearings chief dismisses Carr 'little deals' claim
The chairman of the GAA's Central Hearings Committee yesterday strongly defended their integrity after some scathing attacks on them in the wake of the judgments handed down to Derrytresk ahead of the All-Ireland junior football final this weekend.
Liam Keane has also said he would have no difficulty in mirroring the AFL's template of holding disciplinary cases in public. Keane was reacting to comments from the previous night on RTE's 'Drivetime Sport' by former Dublin manager and captain Tommy Carr who suggested that "little deals" are often done in disciplinary and other matters.
Keane refuted this and has challenged Carr to withdraw this claim unless he can support it with evidence. But when contacted last night Carr said he stood over his comments and said it was a culture at all levels of the GAA to do deals.
"This is the GAA as I know it for the last 30 years and this culture was in place when I was around as a player too. I'm not for one moment questioning the integrity of this body, but everyone knows the practicalities of what goes on. That's the way it works," said Carr.
"I wouldn't have made the comments if I wasn't prepared to stand over them. This is the culture of the GAA that I know and am part of."
Derrytresk's Joe McKee was cleared to play in Sunday's final by the CHC, whose chairman is angered by Carr's assertion.
"One particular comment suggested that he was calling the integrity of the members of the CHC into question," Keane said. "I took grave exception to that. He made reference to little deals being done here and there which suggested that the proceedings were not conducted in a fair way and I'm sure he has no evidence and I would hope that he would withdraw that.
"This committee is in place for the last three years and never once has our integrity been called into question in the way in which it was done by Tommy. That's why I took grave offence to that.
"When people come before the hearings committee they may well be upset, they may well disagree with what is done, but nobody questioned our integrity."
Keane said he would be open to following the Australian model of making the hearings public, but admitted there were difficulties attached to that too for amateur players and administrators.
"I would have no difficulty with it being dealt with in public and I know the AFL conduct their hearings in public," he said.
Keane revealed the hearings committee did not conclude their business until 3.30 in the morning and the Derrytresk party were still in Croke Park to hear their findings.
"A full explanation was given to each of the seven players," Keane admitted. "I would have no issue with giving a full detailed report on hearings cases, but the bigger issue is probably time constraints. We were anxious to give the decision to the Derrytresk people as quickly as possible and they were with us until 3.30." The hearings had begun at 7.0 the previous evening.
Derrytresk will appeal the decision to preclude them from representing Tyrone in any competition outside their own county for the next five years. However, they have decided not to appeal any of the other seven susp- ensions handed down by the CHC.