Tipperary chairman reveals €220,000 deficit
OUTGOING chairman Barry O'Brien admitted last night that Tipperary GAA's 2011 financial accounts make for grim reading and represent a "serious problem".
A massive deficit of €220,000 was revealed at the Premier County's annual convention in Thurles last night, while spending on inter-county teams exceeded the €1m mark for a fourth successive year.
Officials have warned that more major cuts are needed as not even a 13pc cut in expenditure this year has managed to stem the county's financial bleed. The figure of €1,171,876 spent on inter-county teams this year is down by €61,516 from the 2010 figure of €1,233,392, which was an all-time high.
But the overall report is a major source of concern to Premier County top brass, who warned last year that a 7.5pc cut in expenditure right across the board was required.
The actual cut in expenditure for 2011 is almost double what was first recommended 12 months ago, but unfortunately for officials, income has dropped in tandem by almost 15pc.
Gate receipts from local games are down by a 18pc this year, from over €323,000 in 2010 to €263,605, while income from the county senior hurling championship has dropped by over €100,000 in the last three years.
Increases in commercial income and fundraising activities were reported, but coaching income dropped by €90,000 while county grounds' maintenance jumped by over €20,000, due in main to frost damage at Dr Morris Park.
In his secretary's report, Tim Floyd hit out at the Munster Council for a lack of financial support for development work at Dr Morris Park in Thurles.
And last night, former county board chairman John Costigan expressed his hope that the provincial body would reconsider and allocate funds towards the 'third field' project next year.
Overall, Tipperary County Board expenditure for the 2011 financial year totals €4,645,428. Expenditure is down by almost €723,000 this year but, in difficult times, income dropped by €816,213.
O'Brien acknowledged: "It doesn't make pretty reading this year, and it's not the type of report that we wanted to bring to convention.
"We identified last year that we had a financial overrun for the second year in a row. We held five meetings in January and February and set out with an aim of cutting 10pc on expenditure. We hoped that income would be neutral, but unfortunately that didn't work out.
"The be-all and end-all are the structures we have put in place and on the field of play, we are receiving the award for the effort we have made. The reality is that we are no longer collecting enough money for the structures in place." O'Brien revealed that the board executive will discuss a number of wide-ranging cost-cutting measures, to be revealed at next month's county board meeting.
New county board chairman Sean Nugent, who took over last night from O'Brien, admitted: "The financial report to convention will cause concern to all present and a major challenge lies ahead to rectify this problem.
"Our income is decreasing and our costs are rising and we need to reverse that trend.
"While I am very concerned at the problem, I am not in any way daunted by the challenge ahead as I believe we have the will, the capacity and the public support to turn the tide."