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Croke Park deal to save Mayo GAA €200k a year

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 Machines are pictured on the site of the MacHale Park, Castlebar stand in October 2008 during the Mayo club football championship.?
FLASHBACK?Machines are pictured on the site of the MacHale Park, Castlebar stand in October 2008 during the Mayo club football championship.?Pic: Michael Donnelly

Croke Park deal to save Mayo GAA €200k a year


€10m MacHale Park, Castlebar loan is renegotiated by officials

Exclusive
Mike Finnerty

THE Mayo GAA Board will save almost €200,000 per year after Croke Park’s decision to ‘take over’ the full MacHale Park, Castlebar redevelopment debt of €10m.
After more than a year of behind-the-scenes negotiations involving Mayo GAA chiefs, Connacht GAA Council Secretary John Prenty, and key figures in Croke Park’s finance department, a deal was reached between all parties last Saturday week.
Under the revised terms of the new agreement, Mayo GAA Board will now make repayments of approximately €33,000 per month (down from approximately €48k) directly to Croke Park over the next 29 years.
This will service the entire outstanding debt on MacHale Park, and includes repayments on both €5m loans which were given to the Mayo GAA Board by Croke Park and Ulster Bank. The latter loan has now been ‘taken over’ by GAA Headquarters.
“We still owe €10m in total, but because Croke Park have now taken over our €5m loan from Ulster Bank, we will now be making all of our repayments directly to them,” Mayo GAA Chairman, Mike Connelly, told The Mayo News.
“In real terms, our repayments will now work out at approximately €33,000 per month, that’s down around €15,000 per month from what we had been paying. The way we look at it, it’s quite sizeable but manageable.”
Connelly also admitted that there had been ‘incredible pressure’ on the key officers to try and meet their loan repayments of almost €50,000 per month.
“This deal is going to give us more money in the Mayo GAA kitty to do what needs to be done on the ground here in the county, plus our cash-flow will improve.
“But the only way we will have €15,000 extra a month to play with is if we continue to be successful on the field, if we continue to reach All-Ireland semi-finals on a regular basis.
“We need to look after clubs. They are my number one priority. We will have a much clearer picture of what exactly we can do for them at the end of this year.”