ANNUAL REPORT Mayo GAA Board secretary Dermot Butler has slammed the 'torrent of abuse' suffered by volunteer GAA officials on social media in his annual report to Convention. Pic: Conor McKeown
MAYO GAA Board secretary Dermot Butler has used his annual report to next Sunday’s County Convention to reveal that the proposed Mayo GAA ‘Training Centre’ at Lough Lannagh in Castlebar is still ‘very much alive’.
The Crossmolina clubman admitted the project ‘has not progressed as we would have hoped’ in recent months due to ‘environmental issues’ that he says will hopefully be resolved in the ‘near future’.
In an interview elsewhere in this paper, Mayo GAA vice-chairman Seamus Tuohy also described the Centre of Excellence as ‘a reality’.
“I’d hope that within the next week, the issues that were outstanding have now been resolved and that we’d be in a position to go to planning permission within the next month to six weeks.”
Meanwhile, Dermot Butler also used his report as an opportunity to publicly thank Tim O’Leary and the Mayo GAA International Supporters Foundation for their fundraising efforts for Mayo GAA in 2019, along with the €150,000 donation Mr O’Leary made to Mayo GAA in 2018.
Butler’s report will be presented to club representatives and delegates at next Sunday’s County Convention in the Broadhaven Bay Hotel, Belmullet.
However, he said that the ‘torrent of abuse’ which was directed towards him and his fellow County Board officers during their ongoing dispute with the Foundation was unfair and ‘difficult’ for them and their families.
The Foundation continues to withhold €250,000 from the Mayo County Board, raised at a Gala banquet in New York last May, due to concerns around ‘governance’ in Mayo GAA.
However, Butler wrote that Mayo GAA have not asked for any other monies from O’Leary or the Foundation and that any money raised must come through the official channel of Cairde Maigheo.
“Mayo GAA found itself in the media for all the wrong reasons. A dispute arose between the Foundation and Mayo GAA,” Butler wrote. “I would like at this stage to thank Tim O’Leary, Heather Blond and members of the foundation for organising the Gala Dinner in New York on the Friday night prior to the game.
“I would also like to thank the people who donated so generously at the auction on the night. The foundation agreed to pay for the training camp at Rocklands GAA Club and I wish to thank the members of that Club for making their facilities available to us.
“Tim O’Leary donated €150,000 to Mayo GAA in 2018 and this was put to use by the Board – I wish to thank Tim O’Leary for his donation. That is the only money that Mayo GAA have received from either O’Leary or the foundation. Mayo have never asked for any other money from O’Leary or the foundation.
“I am not going to go over all of the articles that have appeared in the newspapers, but it is disappointing that individuals used the media to tell their side of the story – a story that was not entirely correct.
“Any money raised on behalf of Mayo GAA must come under the umbrella of Cairde Maigheo.”
Butler added that he hoped both sides of the dispute can enter some sort of mediation and ‘move on’.
Butler concluded by launching some stinging criticism towards people using fake aliases on social media who direct criticism towards the volunteer officials of the County Board.
“To all of those who are contesting elections, I wish you all the best of luck and thank you for allowing your names to go before Convention,” he said. “It’s always easy for people to sit on the fence and criticise the Officers of the Board, but why don’t these people put their names forward for a ‘job’?
“But no, it’s easier to sit behind a faceless account on social media using a pseudo name. “People must remember that the officers carry out their duties in a voluntary capacity and, while we don’t always do things right, we do do our best for Mayo GAA.”