ONE of the first jobs for whoever is elected as Mayo GAA Board chairman next Sunday will be to iron out the finer details around the return of members of the press to County Board meetings in 2020.
The Mayo News understands that — by general consensus — it was agreed at last Tuesday night’s County Board meeting that the media would be allowed to cover meetings in future, once ‘a middle ground’ or ‘compromise solution’ was ironed out by the new Mayo GAA executive.
Club delegates had voted last month to exclude members of the press from County Board meetings, but this decision has now been reversed after a furious backlash from some club officers and the general public.
Meanwhile, the proposal for the introduction of an ‘exclusive’ Junior football championship was also passed by delegates last week, meaning the 15 ‘exclusive’ Junior clubs will now battle it out for the Pete McDonnell Cup, without any ‘B’ or ‘C’ teams, who will play in a separate Junior championship.
This move by the delegates ultimately means the Mayo Senior Leagues can be concluded before the championships began in late August.
ELSEWHERE, the ongoing row between Mayo GAA chiefs and the Mayo GAA International Supporters Foundation appears to be rumbling on after officers of the Board threatened legal action against Tim O’Leary, chairman of the Foundation.
Early last week O’Leary requested the return of the €150,000 donation he made to Mayo GAA last year, threatening legal action of his own if it was not done so.
He gave the Board 21 days to return the money or else he would issue legal proceedings.
Solicitor Charlie Gilmartin, who represents Mayo GAA and its officers, issued a letter to Mr O’Leary’s legal team, denying the claims made by their client about how the donation was spent and accusing him of defamation.
The €150,000 donation made by O’Leary to the Board in 2018, he says, was on condition that the money be used specifically for the Mayo senior team. O’Leary has been vocal in his criticism of the Board for their explanations of how this money has been spent and has even taken to social media in recent days, posting pictures of some of the alleged receipts that were provided to him by the Board as an explanation of how some of the money was spent.
O’Leary has given a commitment that any money returned by the Board will be donated to the Mayo Roscommon Hospice and towards Gaelic games in Mayo schools.
However, in the letter from Gilmartin to O’Leary’s solicitor, Tom Casey, the Mayo GAA Board have denied that there were any conditions attached to the original donation of €150,000.
“I note that your client has threatened to take legal action if the funds are not reimbursed to your client within a period of 21 days,” the letter read. “The funds will not be reimbursed to your client. They were given without condition.”
It also alleges that the officers had been defamed by O’Leary and that they were reserving their position in this regard.