Saturday 7 December 2019

GAA to meet with millionaire Mayo backer directly over funding row


GAA director-general Tom Ryan. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
GAA director-general Tom Ryan. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Donnchadh Boyle and Shane Phelan

GAA director-general Tom Ryan is set to intervene directly in the ongoing row that has engulfed Mayo GAA and meet with the county's millionaire backer Tim O'Leary.

Top brass in Croke Park have already met with the Mayo executive and were briefed on the dispute which has rumbled on for months.

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The Mayo GAA International Supporters Foundation, which is headed by O'Leary, is withholding €250,000 in funding in a row over governance.

In a letter to Mayo county secretary Dermot Butler, Ryan offered "whatever support and assistance may be required to reach a positive outcome for all concerned".

Ryan also asked Mayo to set up a meeting with O'Leary and asked that Mayo refrain from "making any further public statements".

"Thank you for meeting with me and my colleagues on Friday last," read the letter from Ryan which was dated for last Monday, November 25.

"We appreciate the difficult situation that the County Committee is currently faced with and we will offer whatever support and assistance may be required to reach a positive outcome for all concerned.

"We would be glad to meet with Mr O'Leary in this regard and I would be grateful if you could assist in making the arrangements for such a meeting.

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"In the meantime, out of respect to all parties, and in order to better facilitate a resolution, can I ask that you refrain from making any further public statements on the matter?"

The foundation raised the money at an event in New York that coincided with Mayo’s trip to the Big Apple to face the Exiles in the Connacht SFC last May.

It is understood the meeting between O’Leary and the GAA’s top brass could take place early next week.

Meanwhile, a dispute over the exclusion of a journalist from running for a position on Mayo County Board has been resolved.

Michael Gallagher had threatened to issue High Court injunction proceedings after being told nine days ago that due to a technicality he could not run for the position of PRO at the county convention on December 15.

Following consultation with his club, Ballycroy GAA, the board has now accepted he was fully paid up on time.

Gallagher is not linked to the Mayo GAA International Supporters Foundation, but has been calling for the board to enter mediation with it.

In a statement, he said he appreciated Mayo GAA’s response to the situation and thanked his club, saying it “went to great lengths to bring about a fair outcome to this saga”.

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