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'Rotten to the core' - Galway GAA under fire as damning financial mismanagement outlined

Treasurer Michael Burke led the way at last night’s heated convention.

A general view of Pearse Stadium.
A general view of Pearse Stadium.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

GALWAY GAA TREASURER Michael Burke hit out at people ‘within Galway GAA’ who ‘put every barrier and obstacle’ in his way of getting to the truth of their financial problems.

Speaking at last night’s Galway GAA Convention, Mr Burke said ‘the game is up’ for those who have ‘done a disservice to Galway GAA and whose only interest is, or was, self-interest’.

Mr Burke highlighted unauthorised use of Galway GAA credit cards for personal use, the payment of bonuses and expenses without proper authorisation and the lack of control and transparency and payments for tickets drawn down from Croke Park.

“I, myself, have experienced it at first hand and I can tell you here tonight that some people, not many I may add, within Galway GAA put every barrier and obstacle they could devise to prevent me and the honest and decent people in Galway GAA from getting to the truth,” said Mr Burke.

“For anyone who wants to impede or hinder progress now being made, the game is up, with witness to those who have done disservice to Galway GAA and whose only interest is, or was, self-interest.

“(When I came in as treasurer in 2017) it didn’t take me long to realise that all was not well with the management of our financial affairs.

“Hence the reason why I set about setting up an internal audit committee to review the three previous years. Some people at the time wanted to forget about the past and simply look to the future, but I resisted that because in order to resolve any problem you need to get to the root of the problem first.

“A review of officers expenses in previous accounts show them as high as €45,000 in 2016. Now I can tell you Santy and the Elves might have been generous back them, but he has tightened his belt now. We had made provision in accounts for €20 (thousand) but I assure we will be short of that amount and maybe less than ten (thousand).

“As far as I am concerned the looking back is over. The problems and wrongdoings of the past have been identified and I’m fully satisfied that Galway GAA, which is a great product, is out of life-support and we are well on the road to recovery.”

There was several inputs from the delegates in attendance including Paul Bellew, from Padraig Pearses, who was part of the internal audit committee.

After a few months looking into Galway GAA’s finances he said: “I think the culture (in Galway GAA) is rotten to the core”.

“I certainly am not happy that Galway GAA is in a good place to deliver that change. I don’t trust that it is from what I was exposed to over the last few months.”

The convention started off on a bum note with the absence of the 2017 AGM minutes from the official clár, which couldn’t be found in the office, according to acting secretary Seamus O’Grady, who recently took on the position.

The secretary also called on the county’s management committee to improve on the ‘many inadequacies’ highlighted in a recent financial audit into the county’s finances ordered by Croke Park.

“What remains to be done with the report at this stage is the Management Committee have to take it on board, they have accepted the recommendations, so it is now up to the Management Committee and the County Committee to implement the recommendations which, hopefully, will improve things and improve the many inadequacies that were pointed out in the report.”

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Declan Rooney

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