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No 'bail-out' warning as Thomas Davis plan recovery

Thomas Davis members have pledged to "work their way" out of the €2m debt in which the Tallaght club are immersed.

A well-attended EGM on Monday night heard the exact scale of the problem and the reaction has been positive, with a strong desire to initiate plans to alleviate it.

A life membership scheme has been re-opened and significant individual donations are also understood to have been received. An increase in weekly contributions from members is also on the cards.

It was stressed that there is no immediate danger that the club would go out of business, but GAA president Christy Cooney spelled it out yesterday when he said there would be "no bail-out fund" available to distressed clubs.

"We certainly can give clubs advice. We are even prepared to talk to the financial institutions about putting forward the best package to overcome these challenges," said Cooney.

"The association has strong credibility with these institutions and we will be using that to maximise whatever we can do for our clubs. That's the responsibility we have."


Thomas Davis' crisis meeting comes as it emerged that at least one other major Dublin club has been in touch with Croke Park seeking guidance and possibly financial assistance as to how to deal with a growing debt problem.

Cooney remains adamant that clubs would not go out of business, despite growing evidence that more are facing financial ruin.

"Clubs have trustees, so if it goes out of business, the property that's there comes under the guise of the association and it wouldn't go anywhere else. We don't envisage that happening with any club," he said.

One of the issues the GAA plans to tackle with a new Government is the issue of commercial rates on clubs.

Once clubs have bar facilities, they are charged standard rates, based on the size of their premises. That has left some clubs facing annual bills in the region of €20,000 to €25,000 before they generate a cent.

"We would like to see a situation where you could separate the bar from the other facilities in the club.

"We'll be working with whatever Government is in place to see can we make that situation easier," said Cooney.

"Every one is having trouble with rates -- you hear about it every day with small businesses -- and it's a question of working with the local councils and the Government centrally to see can we put a better package in place.

"If bars close, people go out of work and that's what we don't want to do. Bars are a social centre for the wider community."

Irish Independent