Sunday 25 February 2018

Longford official makes call for DRA cost hike to prevent 'frivolous cases'

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

A leading Longford official wants the cost of going before the DRA to rise by 400pc to prevent "frivolous or mischievous cases" being heard.

Longford secretary Peter O'Reilly believes the cost of taking a case to the DRA should jump from €1,000 to €5,000 to avoid excessive costs being heaped on county boards, who are normally the defendants in such cases.

In his report to last night's county convention, secretary Peter O'Reilly claimed many clubs who lose cases were then claiming an inability to pay the relevant bills.

He also hit out at the failure of many clubs to accept the authority of county boards.

"The biggest down side to my job over the past year has been the amount of time wasted trying to defend the board against the perceived right of a minority of club representatives, who at every turn, tried to drag out, slow down or even stall the workings/competitions of the GAA in Longford," said O'Reilly.

On the DRA, O'Reilly said the whole area needs "tightening up".

"One particular area which will benefit everyone is liability for costs. In the main, DRA cases involve clubs as the claimant, while the county board is the respondent, either on its own or joined with a higher authority.


"Given the above scenario, some county boards, having lost a case to a club, are receiving invoices which they feel are grossly inflated, and are expected to pay these costs.

When the reverse happens, clubs are refusing to pay or pleading inability to pay, even though they were aware when entering the process that they would be responsible for costs if they lost.

"A resolution of this scenario is vital, as, left unresolved, it will give credence to a comment I heard that 'the DRA will be more beneficial to clubs than the Lottery ever was' and could lead to more cases of a frivolous or mischievous nature.

"It all could readily be resolved by simply increasing the present deposit of €1,000, which is refundable on the upholding of an appeal, upwards to €5,000.

"This increased deposit will cut out the inclination to move and cover a sizeable amount of the more realistic cost of a DRA case in the event of the claimant losing."

O'Reilly has also added his voice to the growing chorus of opposition to the way the training ban in November and December is laid out.

He is adamant that it impacts more on weaker counties.

"I agree that some type of closed season is necessary, but the present system is not friendly towards counties, especially the weaker ones, who have installed new management teams or are revamping their existing panels," he concluded.

Irish Independent

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