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Kildare adamant €300,000 bailout from GAA headquarters is not a loan

KILDARE are adamant that an imminent €300,000 cash injection from GAA headquarters to help run their affairs on a shortterm basis is not a loan.

County board chairman John McMahon is adamant that it is an “advance payment” of money that would be coming to them anyway through various team and coaching grants from central and provincial level that counties always get.

“This is not a loan. This is money that would have been due to us anyway. Instead of being paid in instalments, it is being paid up front to help tide us over,” he explained.

Kildare clubs were briefed on the county’s financial affairs last week where the €300,000 ‘advance’ was explained. But as part of the agreement, the GAA has insisted that former Munster Council secretary Simon Moroney be introduced as an ‘overseer’ who is available for advice on their financial affairs.

However, McMahon insists that Moroney’s role should not be viewed as that of an administrator. “He’s there to advise us if we need it,” he said last night.

Kildare have been grappling with debts of up to €570,000, which were highlighted at last year’s convention. Financial assistance has already been made available from Croke Park and Leinster Council.

The advance payments will help them to deal with €200,000 owed immediately to creditors. It is an unprecedented move by the GAA to enter into such an arrangement but reflects the stark nature of Kildare’s financial affairs.

Most of the money will come from central funds but Leinster Council has also been asked to contribute to the ‘advance.’ Kildare – whose senior team are currently on a training holiday in Portugal, a trip which was paid for by the players’ own fundraising efforts – have been also busy putting together the details of what is known locally as “the thousandaire”, where individuals and companies can contribute €1,000 to Kildare GAA for various purposes.

“The ‘thousandaire’ isn’t about clearing debts. It’s about development of other aspects of the game in the county,” said McMahon. “Obviously St Conleth’s Park is in need of upgrading and we hope that this money can put us on a firmer financial footing.

“There are a lot of positive developments in Kildare football. Our seniors are in a league final, our minors and hurlers are going well too.

“There is a lot to be optimistic about and that should be reflected.” Clubs who attended last week’s briefing were informed that cost-cutting measures for 2012 were all on target.

“We’ve already done deals with creditors and have made big inroads in the last few months into the €570,000 figure made public last year,” said McMahon.