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Clubs wait on answers from Mayo GAA chiefs

News

County Board to answer questions at next meeting on October 16

Mike Finnerty


SENIOR Mayo GAA officials say they will respond to questions from club delegates about allegations made by the Mayo International Supporters’ Foundation at a County Board meeting later this month.
Last Wednesday evening’s meeting of the County Board was expected to hear a statement from the Foundation — which outlined their reasons for withholding €250,000 in funding, and had been circulated to all Mayo GAA clubs in advance — read out to club delegates.
The document, a copy of which was seen by The Mayo News, was signed by ‘The Mayo GAA International Supporters Foundation’ who said they had ‘ceased funding to Mayo County Board until appropriate governance structures are put in place’.
However, two of Mayo GAA’s most senior officials, chairman Mike Connelly and secretary Dermot Butler, both said they had not received copies of the Foundation’s statement.
Connelly admitted that he had taken ‘phone calls from different people about it’ earlier in the day: “I know a bit about it, maybe we’ll get it tomorrow, I don’t know,” he said.
“We need time to digest what’s in it.”
However, Mayo GAA Board Treasurer, Kevin O’Toole, said he had received a copy of the Foundation’s email from ‘one of the clubs’ and told delegates that he intended to reply to the allegations made in the statement at the next meeting of the County Board on Wednesday, October 16.
O’Toole claimed that the Foundation’s letter contained ‘a huge amount of misinformation’.
“Courtesy of one of the clubs, I received a copy of the email this morning,” said Mr
“I will have a line-by-line reply, in chronological order, of the moving sands of the moving sands,” he said.
“Because there are more moving sands in the Mayo Foundation than there is in the Sahara.”
The Mayo GAA International Supporters’ Foundation was founded by Tim O’Leary, whose mother is a native of Glenhest, earlier this year.
Its statement claims that the ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’ in relation to their decision to cease funding to the Mayo GAA Board came after the County Board’s ‘refusal to provide the ten All-Ireland Final tickets it had committed to provide for a Gala Auction [in New York last May which raised the aforementioned €250,000].
“These tickets were bought and paid for by a donor on the night of the Gala. In the end the Foundation had to pay €5,000 to the County Board to secure the ten tickets which had a face value of €950,” said the Foundation.
However, Mike Connelly denied this claim when he spoke to The Mayo News after last week’s meeting. “Absolutely not, absolutely not” he said, adding that the €5,000 referred to covered the cost of souvenir ‘half and half’ GAA jerseys for the New York trip that Mr O’Leary had received, as well as the All-Ireland tickets.
“Based on what comes in, we’ll have to respond to all the clubs on all the points made,” added the Mayo GAA chairman.
“That’s the starting point, then if people want to get clarity at the next County Board meeting, then let’s deal with it. It’s as simple as that.
“At the outset, there’s a place for everybody, including Tim O’Leary, and he’s very important to us. I want to make that very clear.”

MPU Mayo