SPECIAL PRESENTATION Mayo GAA secretary Dermot Butler is pictured accepting an award — on behalf of one of the recently-retired Mayo footballers who couldn’t attend — from James Horan at the recent function in the Mount Falcon Hotel Ballina. Pic: John O’Grady
TWO senior Mayo GAA officials who attended a private function recently to honour six former Mayo senior footballers say they ‘have no idea’ who organised the event.
County Board chairman Seamus Tuohy and secretary Dermot Butler confirmed at last week’s monthly meeting of the board that they attended the function at the Mount Falcon Hotel in Ballina in their capacities as Mayo GAA officers.
Ballinrobe GAA club delegate, Gerry O’Malley, said he ‘found it very strange that officers of the County Board can go to a function, honouring players who’ve represented Mayo, and they don’t know who organised the function’.
“I just find that odd,” he said.
The matter was raised under ‘AOB’ at last week’s meeting by Garrymore GAA club delegate, John Farragher, who asked: ‘The function that was in Mount Falcon. . . who organised it? “And is it going to continue under Mayo GAA? I know you said in the papers that Mayo GAA had nothing to do with it, but what is the story with it?’
“It was a private function. I was asked to attend. . there were a number of past players asked to attend on the night. . . In my capacity as chairman, I was asked would I attend,” replied Seamus Tuohy.
“In honour of the six lads who were being honoured on the night, I said, ‘yes’. So I did attend. There was nothing else. I said a few words and that was my input.
“I had no input or Mayo GAA had no input whatsoever into the organising of the function,” he added.
“As regards whether it will happen again or not, I don’t know. Private functions, by their nature, people can go to these if they choose.
“I went solely to support the lads, who I have great respect for and have given tremendous time and effort for Mayo GAA. We’re all very proud of them and I thought it was very fitting on the night that they got their reward.
“It was mostly attended by family members on the night, and both Dermot and myself attended on behalf of the Board.”
“Just on that, I was invited in my capacity as secretary of the Board,” continued Dermot Butler.
“I, like Seamus, had nothing to do with the organisation of it. I don’t know who organised it, I don’t know how much it cost. I don’t even know who fund-raised for it.
“There were certain people putting stuff out there that tickets were €500, I don’t know anything about that.
“The award I was pictured getting wasn’t for me, unfortunately,” he added.
“That was for a player who couldn’t attend.
“There’s a lot of smoke being blown by a lot of people, trying to make a mountain out a molehill.”
“You can say it was the Easter Bunny!” quipped John Farragher.
“I haven’t heard anything about it, but I have a question based solely on what you said, Seamus,” said Gerry O’Malley of Ballinrobe GAA club.
“A private function, it’s a private function making presentations to former Mayo footballers. .
“So who were the presentations from? And I find it strange that officers of the County Board can go to a function, honouring players who’ve represented Mayo, and they don’t know who organised the function. I just find that odd.”
“It had nothing to do with Mayo GAA. It was a private individual who organised the event,” replied Dermot Butler.
“So they received their awards from private individuals?” asked Gerry O’Malley.
“Private individuals, exactly,” said Butler.
“Not representing Mayo GAA. We didn’t make any presentations,” said Seamus Tuohy.
There were no further questions or comments on the issue.