Galway costs got out of control

Analysis of Galway GAA’s accounts this decade show how much county board executive costs escalated over the years.

A study seen by the Irish Examiner shows that from a total of €123,905 in 2010, the costs climbed to €328,743 in 2015.

In 2010, county board expenses were €9,960 and rose to €45,772 in 2015 and around the same figure the following year. This year, they were reined in at €20,716 having been €32,175 in 2017.

The biggest jump occurred between 2011 and 2012, where they went from €9,922 to €24,810 — an increase of over 60%.

Wages and staff costs peaked in 2014 when they reached €180,879. These last two years they have hovered around the €150,000 mark.

The costs associated with convention, meetings, and catering more than tripled from €11,160 eight years ago to €36,187 in 2015.

The figures are startling considering the €3.1m Central Council loan Galway had been servicing at the time and continue to service from the ill-fated attempt to establish a centre of excellence outside Athenry.

Speaking on RTÉ’s DriveTime yesterday, former Galway and Offaly senior hurling manager and Connacht Tribune sports editor John McIntyre said the extent of the financial mismanagement has stunned the county.

John McIntyre

“It was a bad and embarrassing night for Galway GAA,” he recalled of Monday’s convention.

I think the chickens came home to roost in a big way. There have been suspicions in the county about the financial culture in Galway GAA.

“On one hand, they (GAA people in Galway) are extremely disappointed that Galway GAA is coming under scrutiny for its lack of governance. On the other hand, there is probably some relief that it has been exposed.

“I suppose the proof of the pudding really is that when you look around the county, which has a lot of international investment, big business, resources — it’s a big county — and there is not a cement block laid in infrastructure for the training of Galway GAA teams.

“I contrast that with a county I was previously involved with as senior hurling manager, Offaly, which wouldn’t have the same level of resources and they have a terrific training centre for their teams outside Kilcormac.

Basically, the bottom line is the GAA money in this county was not going where it should have gone.

McIntyre added that it will take time for Galway people to trust the county board that they have their financial affairs in order. Independent TD for Galway West Catherine Connolly also confirmed to RTÉ that she would be raising the matter of county board’s finances in the Dáil in the new year.

Meanwhile, Kildare’s plans to redevelop St Conleth’s Park could be delayed by up to six months as the county board await a €3m state grant.

The Leinster Leader claims the closing date for the grant has been extended to the end of April and therefore Kildare must hold on until that has elapses to see if they have been successful in their application.

The Newbridge venue was supposed to close after the Allianz Leagues for the reconstruction work to take place but that will now likely take place later in the year, meaning it could again host the senior footballers’ home game, should they reach the Super 8.

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