'Serious deficiencies' in Galway ground's cash-handling procedures
The governance of Galway GAA is under scrutiny after a committee raised questions about various issues, related to finance, health and safety, and ground developments.
It arose initially from a review of activities at Duggan Park, Ballinasloe, following the resignation of the chairman and some members of the ground's development committee who were unhappy with certain aspects.
The report, which has been submitted to Galway County Board, found that there were "serious deficiencies" in cash-handling procedures at Duggan Park. There are absolutely no suggestions of impropriety by any individuals, with the emphasis focusing entirely on flawed procedures.
However, the report, compiled by Galway vice-chairman Kenneth Fox, PRO Seamus Finnerty and children's officer Pat Monaghan, offers a blunt assessment of what they regarded as an unsatisfactory situation, not just in Ballinasloe but "in the governance of Galway GAA in general".
The committee also reveals that several health and safety shortcomings were highlighted in relation to Duggan Park as far back as 2014.
"Strictly speaking, the ground should have been closed but by isolating hazards and having good stewarding, it has been possible to keep the facility in operation," states the report.
Duggan Park was a popular venue for many of Galway's games - especially hurling - over many decades but has lost out in recent times, despite being the only floodlit county ground.
The committee were especially unhappy with financial procedures.
"Originally raised on foot of gate receipts, which had not been lodged three months after the event at which they were collected, serious deficiencies were discovered in cash-handling procedures.
"It emerged without dispute from any party that there is no systematic reconciliation between monies collected at individual gates/matches and the corresponding lodgement to the Galway GAA bank account.
"There is currently no transparent systematic method of ensuring all moneys collected have been lodged, as gate vouchers are not reconciled on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis. This is a fundamental control measure as outlined in the GAA governance code," notes the report.
It also states that while Duggan Park had a good-quality playing surface and adequate dressing-room facilities, issues arise elsewhere. "Spectator accommodation as a whole has many hazards that have to be minimised or remedied," it warns.
Newly-elected Galway county board chairman Pat Kearney said that the findings of the committee had been accepted and that he would head a group to ensure they were implemented as quickly as possible.