Monday 18 November 2019

Mayo release short statement following County Board meeting as calls for mediation to solve funding row grow

The Mayo county board are due to meet with senior GAA officials . Stock photo: Sportsfile
The Mayo county board are due to meet with senior GAA officials . Stock photo: Sportsfile
Tim O’Leary, the chairman of Mayo’s International Supporters Foundation, is still seeking clarity from the county board around projects, governance and sponsorship
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Mayo's International GAA Supporters Foundation has renewed its call for Croke Park mediation to end its impasse with the county board over the future of €250,000 that it raised for a number of specified projects earlier this year.

The money still has not been transferred to the board as the Foundation awaits answers to questions posed over the projects, governance and sponsorship.

The call came as Mayo met for an emergency meeting which was expected to put down another motion of confidence in the board and their handling of the ongoing impasse after seven clubs raised concerns over the authenticity of the original vote at Monday night's 'in camera' meeting.

Last night was the third board meeting convened in nine days, only one of which was a regular monthly meeting.

The County Board releases a short statement late last night.

"A Mayo GAA Co Board meeting took place tonight in Elverys MacHale Park to discuss a number of topics with a range of views expressed by all in attendance. Following this all Clubs & the Board are now all looking forward to working together for the betterment of Mayo GAA from now on & into 2020."

In advance of the meeting, the Foundation sent a letter to the Mayo board asking that they debate in full the issues raised by them.

Intention

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This was the intention on Monday night but, instead, a letter from London-based legal representatives of the Foundation chairman Tim O'Leary, warning of any potential defamatory comments made about him, prompted legal advice that specific detail related to the dispute should not be discussed.

However, the latest Foundation letter to clubs and divisions in the county points out that the letter was sent in a personal capacity and should not have led to discussion being shut down.

"This letter should not in any way prevent the Board from dealing with the questions raised by the Foundation in matters related to finance, good governance, sponsorship or any other matters not of a personal nature as identified in correspondence from the Foundation and Mr O'Leary to the Board, the Clubs and the Auditor," it read.

Read more here:

As it transpired, there was significant general discussion on where the board stand with the Foundation with mixed views expressed, some supportive of mediation to find a way out.

One of the suggestions to emerge was the establishment of a financial controller's role to help manage an income account that has reached €3.5m. Treasurer Kevin O'Toole told the meeting, according to minutes released, that a letter from their auditors suggested they were 80 per cent compliant with governance.

At the meeting, it was suggested that Mayo is the only county which allows media into its regular meetings. The opposite is in fact the case with Wexford among the few counties in recent years choosing to exclude.

That point was picked up on by former Mayo footballer of the seventies and early eighties, JP Kean, who wrote in a Facebook post on the current issues that he was "embarrassed by our leading county board officers".

"On Monday night last we had a 'secret' meeting, where a vote was passed to ban the media from all meetings," he wrote. "In the 135-year history of the GAA, I wonder how many times that has happened, in Mayo or anywhere else? The media play a huge role in promoting our games and culture. They send reporters in all types of weather, to club U-12 games, first year colleges matches, Junior 'B' and 'C' and 'D' club matches.

"This is a daily support of our games that runs all year round. How can these blinkered people ban the media who give such support to what the board should be promoting?"

Irish Independent

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