Cooney keen to move on payments issue

GAA president Christy Cooney is adamant that ‘it’s time to move’ on finalising the controversial issue of payments to inter-county managers, confirming yesterday that Croke Park had received responses to director general Páraic Duffy’s discussion document from all 32 counties and units in Britain.

However, he refused to be drawn on speculation that the overwhelming desire of counties is for ‘option two’ — that of rigorously enforcing the current regulation governing ‘legitimate’ expenses.

“I’m not going to go into it today because we haven’t discussed it at Coiste Bainistí [management committee] yet.

“We have them in and Páraic and I will be preparing a report for this weekend and maybe some direction we would like to go with it. Coiste Bainistí will then make a decision.

“I want to put this in context. Páraic’s paper outlined a number of options. It doesn’t mean that option two is going to be the outcome to what we propose or how we’ll structure it. That’s why we need a bit of space and time [to see] how we respond to that and how we deal with that.

“I think it has to happen. We can’t be saying one thing and doing the opposite and it’s how we’re going to manage that going forward is the crucial thing in all of this.’’

Cooney insisted the immediate priority is to ‘tease out’ the responses they received from county committees, saying: “There have been some good suggestions.

“What has happened is what we wanted to happen — a clear debate at county and club level. There are ways of dealing with this and we have to be given time to do that now.

“I’m going to make recommendations from Coiste Bainistí to Central Council as to how we’re going to move this forward and I think the time has come now to move it on.’’

Meanwhile, the GAA’s talks with the Revenue Commissioners he moved to reassure members by saying that ‘there is no witch hunt’ of association members.

“We have a responsibility to obey the laws of the land as much as anybody else and we will work with Revenue to put in place the best package or the best way forward for dealing with some of the challenges that we face.

“[GAA members] are not looking for payment. They’re just looking for out-of-pocket expenses to be covered. I think we’ll find a solution to this.”


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