Sunday 26 March 2017

County top brass may have to swear managers aren't paid

DERMOT CROWE

A PROPOSAL to have county secretaries and chairmen sign affidavits stating that no unauthorised payments to managers are taking place on their watch has been considered by the GAA's "upper echelons", the Sunday Independent has learned.

The disclosure comes at a time when director-general Páraic Duffy is preparing a discussion paper on unofficial payments, which he hopes to have ready in the next six weeks.

"It will outline why I see this as an issue and present some ideas on how we can address it," Duffy said yesterday.

He was reluctant to go into detail and there is no suggestion that the proposal on affidavits will form part of his recommendations. He will report back to the Management Committee although his progress is being slowed by the climax of the hurling and football championships.

Any attempt to have chairmen and secretaries obliged to sign affidavits is likely to be met with resistance. The majority of secretaries are full-time and such a move could have job implications, with unauthorised payments to managements forming a flourishing black economy.

Another proposal recently touted is to pay managers a fee, but that would have implications for travel expenses which would be rendered invalid to and from places of work.

Last year, Duffy, speaking at a dinner in Dublin, strongly criticised the practice of paying managers and said he was aware of a "well-known mercenary" manager in Ulster who received unofficial payments of £30,000 received from two prominent businessmen.

Duffy said he regarded unofficial payments as the "biggest single most difficult issue" facing the GAA. The GAA later moved to stress that the person being alluded to by Duffy wasn't a currently serving inter-county manager in Ulster.

In the past, former president Peter Quinn found the search futile, famously saying that not only could they not find under-the-table payments; they could not even find the table.

The appointment of managers from outside counties remains prevalent. Recently, Laois named Justin McNulty of Armagh as their football manager after dispensing with the services of the home-grown Seán Dempsey. Mick O'Dwyer has been linked to the vacant Mayo position and a former Mayo favourite, Liam McHale, is a selector with Clare.

Galway and Joe Kernan parted ways after just one year, Kernan having replaced a Galway native in Liam Sammon.

Sunday Independent

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