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Mayo GAA count cost of MacHale Park loan

Sport

FROM THE ARCHIVES On the day of the Mayo GAA Intermediate Football Final in October 2008, this was the scene at the site of the new stand at MacHale Park in Castlebar. Pic: Michael Donnelly


Mike Finnerty

MAYO GAA will pay €3million over the next ten years in repayments on the loan for the redevelopment in 2008 of the MacHale Park stadium in Castlebar.
Last week’s monthly meeting of the County Board was told by Board chairman Seamus Tuohy that Mayo GAA chiefs had ‘entered a formal arrangement with the finance section of Croke Park’ that will see repayments of €25,000 per month being made for the next decade. This new arrangement with the National Finance Committee of the GAA will begin on October 1 this year and is due to be ‘reviewed’ in 2032.
In response to a question from Ballinrobe GAA club delegate Gerry O’Malley, Mayo GAA Treasurer Valerie Murphy confirmed this would mean the term of the loan would be extended. However, she said she could not confirm by how many years.
A spokesperson for Mayo GAA told The Mayo News yesterday (Monday) that they would prefer not to confirm the amount left to be repaid on the loan or the revised term of the loan under the new arrangement.
The Mayo News understands that Mayo GAA currently owe approximately €7.8million on the loan which was taken out to pay for the redevelopment of the stadium 14 years ago.
The County Board had been paying €34,100 per month before Covid struck in the spring of 2020; this was reduced to €5,000 per month for a period during the pandemic as the National Finance Committee granted Mayo GAA a reprieve on full repayments.
Mayo GAA had then signed up to an ‘interim arrangement’ with the National Finance Committee at Croke Park last November for a 12-month period that saw them pay €20,550 per month.
Based on information provided at a County Board meeting last November by then-Mayo GAA Board chairman Liam Moffatt, repayments of €26,000 a month on the outstanding amount of the loan at that time (€7.9million) would mean it would take 35 years to repay fully. The rate of interest on the loan remains at 1.9 percent.
“That proposal has to be formalised,” Seamus Tuohy said at last Wednesday’s meeting.
“The finance section of Croke Park has to update the existing agreement and send it on to us.”
Meanwhile, the monthly Mayo GAA finance report — which is e-mailed to all club delegates in advance of the meetings along with a number of other reports — elicited no questions from any delegates.
The Mayo GAA accounts for the eight months to May 31 last were showing a surplus of €47,584. This was down by €18,238 on the previous month.

Repair work questioned
THE MacHale Park redevelopment project also came up again later in the meeting during an ‘Infrastructure Update’ that was given by Mayo GAA Assistant Treasurer Michael Diskin.
In response to a question from Westport GAA club delegate, Willie McDonagh, Diskin confirmed that the ‘partial re-roofing of the media tower’ at MacHale Park was something that was due to be undertaken in the near-future.
“The media tower was done quite a few years after the rest of the development was done.  How come it needs to be re-roofed so soon?” asked Mr McDonagh.
Michael Diskin said that an engineer’s report and a builder’s report had been commissioned, and added that there had been a suggestion made that the original work on the roof ‘had been tampered with’.
Willie McDonagh, who works in the construction industry, also said that he had examined the ‘perlite’ that had been used at the back of the main stand at MacHale Park.
“Who allowed below standard material to be used?” he asked.
“The Board employed people to oversee the work and that wasn’t overseen,” he added.
Michael Diskin agreed with McDonagh’s observation and described the condition of the ‘sub-standard material’ as ‘scandalous’.
“We’re doing our best to address it, most of us weren’t on the Board at that time,” remarked Seamus Tuohy.

 

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