22 April 2008

Waterford GAA calls Gardaí over missing Money

Well, as I wrote yesterday evening, one scandal comes seldom alone. It's a bit like the buses in Dublin and London: for a while there is none, and then two or three come in a line. And sadly, here is the third scandal in a row from Ireland within two days, this time involving one of the pillars of Irish popular culture, the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA).

Gardaí in Waterford have been asked to investigate an alleged misappropriation of € 142,000 from the Waterford GAA County Board. The money is believed to be from All Ireland ticket sales last year.

A senior official in the county has resigned his position, following an internal GAA investigation, "which has been going on now for a number of months". At an emergency County Board meeting last night it was confirmed that the money is missing.

Apparently "some efforts" have been made over the past few months "to have the money returned" to the Waterford County Board, but so far without success. But - not unusual in the GAA - everything happens internally, behind closed doors and in closed circles of the initiated. Calling in the Gardaí is now the first step of a public investigation

This morning the Waterford County Board announced that a legal writ has been issued against the now former official (who has resigned), but without naming him. "The Gardaí have also been informed of the situation," a spokesperson said.

It can be expected that the GAA national headquarter in Croke Park, Dublin will also launch its own investigation at some stage. The whole affair has come as a shock to many GAA supporters in Waterford, who have seen their hurlers doing quite well in recent years and have a lot of trust in the organisation.
It is at this stage too early to say if the whole matter is linked exclusively to the one - now resigned - official, or if there are larger internal problems inside the Waterford GAA. Watch this space! I will keep you informed about any further development.

The Emerald Islander

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