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Harvard alumni and CEO of Swiss bank part of new Mayo GAA committee - 'It's definitely a positive'

A new audit & risk committee has been established in the county with new sponsorship deals also confirmed.

A HARVARD ALUMINI and the CEO of a Swiss bank are part of a new audit & risk committee set up by Mayo GAA with responsibility for overseeing the governance structures and financial compliance of Mayo GAA.

the-mayo-team The announcements were made at a Mayo county board meeting last night. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

The move has been backed by the county’s long-serving former midfielder David Brady, who believes similar committees should be established in other counties.

Mayo was mired in controversy over the last year due to the tensions that surfaced between the county board and Tim O’Leary, the benefactor who contributed vast sums to Mayo GAA in recent years.

In February it was announced that Mayo had ‘ceased all dialogue’ with O’Leary following his tweets calling for the removal of James Horan as senior manager.

james-horan Mayo manager James Horan Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

The Mayo county board held their first physical meeting last night since March with the Mazars review, that has taken place over the last number of months, discussed. The report includes recommendations in several areas that Mazars believe will improve the day-to-day operation and governance of the financial affairs of the county.

Pádraig Ó Céidigh – a former senator, owner of Aer Arann and Harvard scholar -was announced as the chairman of the new audit & risk committee.

Morgan Deane, the CEO of Swiss investment bank Helvea SA and a member of the Ballycastle GAA club, is also on the committee along with chartered accountant Frank Walsh and Bill Carty, the former Head of Finance for Abbott Ireland.

Mayo also made a series of sponsorship announcements last night with Intersport Elverys to remain as title sponsors for a further five years until 2025, Smyths Toys to come board as their Academy sponsor and O’Neills will continue to supply the county with teamwear up until 2022. Details were also released about the Cairde Mhaigh Eo fundraising committee and policy.

“It should have been done before now and I think other counties should take example of it, it’s very positive the calibre and class of people that have been incorporated and volunteered onto the (committee),” remarked Brady.

“I do think that it’s definitely a positive. You’re dealing with an amateur organisation that’s dealing with a turnover that would be far in excess of a lot of the small and medium enterprises that we have in the country right now.

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“Especially in Covid times, from a turnover perspective it won’t be as much as previous years, but from volume and the different fundraising streams that we have. You need to be confident, and you need to show confidence, and I’d welcome it big time. It should be incorporated into every county board’s article of governance to say we should have an ethics and oversight committee, in any way shape or form, whatever way you want to [label it]. It’s definitely positive.”

fans-arrive-at-elverys-machale-park Mayo fans in Castlebar last summer Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Brady believes the controversy that impacted on the county last year was not ideal but has served a purpose in paving the way for the new structures.

“I don’t think it was positive. There was a lot of negativity. Did that negativity need to surface? Did that search for answers, or that search for corporate governance, did that need to happen? I think we wouldn’t have it if it wasn’t asked for, or wasn’t called out.

“And I think it will give confidence to everyone going forward. I don’t think it was ideal, but it definitely served its purpose. Now we need to learn from it and move on, and focus on the future with accountability being to the fore, from everyone involved in Mayo football. I do feel that it probably was handed down from Croke Park, for it to be put in place, and I do feel it needs to be put in place in a lot of other counties as well.”

Looking at the Mayo team’s prospects for the 2020 season which is set to operate under a different knockout championship format this winter, Brady feels that Horan’s squad will benefit hugely from the enforced break.

After several long seasons their squad were afforded a chance to rest. Last weekend’s club action saw Colm Boyle, Jason Doherty and Cillian O’Connor all return to action after battling injuries.

colm-boyle Colm Boyle in action for Mayo against Dublin last August Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

“From a Mayo perspective I think it is the best thing we could ever ask for that the world stopped going around, the players got off that bus, got time to refocus. I suppose revise themselves because there were a lot of injuries, long term injuries that players just needed to rehab and a break. We had no momentum in the league. The league was more or less, I won’t call it a disaster, but we were staring relegation in the face.

aib-the-toughest-summer-david-brady David Brady is featuring as part of AIB's 'The Toughest Summer'. Source: Seb Daly/SPORTSFILE

“If any county in the country needed coronavirus it was Mayo considering the long term. We’d be into the depths of championship now, the Connacht final would already have been played. Is this a Super 8s weekend? This is the midst of it, but I do feel a lot of the Mayo players wouldn’t have been ready for it.

“Now they have that opportunity, that rest. I can’t see it doing us any harm. I don’t think we were going to have a major impact coming up to March, where we were going. I’d see that as a positive from a Mayo perspective.”

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- David Brady is appearing in episode two of AIB’s ‘The Toughest Summer’, part of a feature length documentary that will be broadcast on RTÉ One in late August.

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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