Mayo GAA are set for another wave of pressure, after a leaked letter from Tim O’Leary, chairman of Mayo International Supporters Foundation, places question marks over their corporate governance.
The document includes a screengrab of an email, addressed to senior county board officials, in which O’Leary is referred to as a “donkey”. In a lengthy correspondence to the board, O’Leary describes an “intimidating culture which exists in Mayo GAA”.
“A number of individuals (including Board Delegates) have approached me to say that they are afraid to call out what is happening due to the bullying and intimidating culture which exists within Mayo GAA,” the correspondence notes.
“I can very much relate to what they say on this point as I have been at the receiving end of a number of personal insults. As you and other officers are aware, I was called a ‘donkey’ in an open email by a senior officer of the Mayo Board. As you can appreciate it got a bit personal at that point!
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“Please understand that despite the distressing aspect of the personal insults I am not one to be intimidated! If anything, it has only motivated me further to expose this culture.”
A meeting of the county board was due to be held last week but was postponed due to chairman Mike Connelly experiencing a health issue. Despite that, O’Leary’s letter requests information relating to a previous letter requesting business plans as to how the sum of €250,000 that the foundation holds will be spent.
He goes on to state:
As you are aware clubs within Mayo are levied each year to subsidise the shortfall in annual revenues. A number of clubs have contacted me in relation to this particular matter (and their concerns) if they fail to make their payments. It is absolutely shocking that clubs should live in such fear.
O’Leary was sent a letter relating to various “sponsorship opportunities” of which would have included the potential naming of MacHale Park. O’Leary questions who approved the letter as the chairman (Connelly) was not available at the time, and also the workings of sponsorship deals, asking why they did not “go through a competitive process”.
O’Leary also points to the example of the “existing agreement” whereby the senior team would be given €10,000 for an All-Ireland final appearance. In return, the Mayo County Board are obliged to provide: “A minimum of 100 tickets if Mayo senior team is participating in the final with an obligation to provide additional tickets on demand.”
O’Leary adds: “In summary, if the Mayo senior team get to an All-Ireland final, Mayo get a €10,000 performance-related payment. Mayo must provide 100 tickets to the provider which have a total face value of €9,000. Net cash benefit to Mayo is €1,000.”
O’Leary later outlined his reasons for speaking out, saying: “In a 12-month period I have provided €415,000 to Mayo GAA.
“The €150,000 was provided directly to the county board for a particular reason. Despite numerous requests to the board no one can tell me where my donation was used other than to provide me with hundreds of miscellaneous receipts. As you are well aware, I did not give €150,000 to supplement general expenditure.
“Can I ask you to please provide me with an auditor’s opinion on how this money was used and accounted for in the 2018 audited accounts?”
He also says: “As you know an employee of Mayo GAA contacted a senior member of the Mayo LGFA Board after the foundation had donated €10,000 to the Mayo senior ladies’ team. They warned Mayo LGFA Board about dealing with me and that all wasn’t what it seemed. They went on to say that the money would come at a price. This was highly defamatory and very insulting considering what I have contributed to all Mayo teams.”