Tuesday 27 June 2017

Mayo deny Lyons claim on payment

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

A former Mayo GAA chairman has denied that Tommy Lyons was asked how much money he would want to manage the county when he was interviewed for the vacant position in September 2010.

James Waldron, who was county board chairman at the time, said there was never a question of the former Dublin and Offaly manager being asked to "put into an envelope" the figure he was looking for to manage Mayo.

Lyons didn't get the post, which went to James Horan instead, but in the course of a discussion on RTE's 'Sport at Seven' last night, he made the astonishing claim that a Mayo official had asked him about what money he would require to do the job.

"When I was there (Mayo) and I was interviewed for the job, I was asked to put it in an envelope what I wanted to get paid for doing the job and I told him what part of 'I didn't want to get paid' did he not understand?" claimed Lyons.

"So that was a senior inter-county official as of only 12 months ago in a very clear breach of the guidelines."

Waldron, whose five-year term as chairman ended later that year, said any discussion on money focused solely on travel expenses at the time.

"We would have been trying to establish whether he was travelling from Dublin, where he is based, or from Louisburgh, where he has a holiday home and visits regularly," said Waldron. "That's all we would have wanted to know."

When contacted by the Irish Independent last night, Lyons stood over what he said in the interview and was adamant that a Mayo official had put the question of money to him.

It is the first time that a prospective manager has named a county he claims put the question of money to him in the course of an interview.

The deadline for submissions on the GAA's document on payments to managers released last month is this evening.

Mayo were among the latest counties to vote in favour of 'option two' in the document, which calls for greater enforcement of the existing rules through the establishment of a compliance officer and regulation and audit board.

It is not expected that any county will vote in favour of paying managers, though some have decided on an expansion of the current expenses.

Lyons has also called for greater "transparency" with what payments are made to full-time GAA officials.

"We need the full-time paid officials, but we need to create transparency. The GAA is not like soccer or rugby where these things are commercially secretive. The GAA is an amateur organisation, so I think there should be complete clarity on what everyone gets paid."

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