25 Jan 2022

Longford Leader columnist Mattie Fox: GAA is big business and make up of County Boards needs review

Mattie Fox

Longford Leader columnist, Mattie Fox

GAA County Board management committees are being criticised and ridiculed all over the place. They are an especially easy target for keyboard warriors.

Money is allegedly “gone missing” in several counties, yet nobody has substantively provided or produced a single evidentiary example of this being the case.

Everyone is missing the point here.

I agree that many county boards are being run in a shambolic way, yet I do not agree that any county board is corrupt, at least not in terms of finance, that is...

However, the composition of the county board management or executive, call it what you will, is long past its sell by date.
There are some changes which have long been crying out for action and they must be initiated.

Take for example the roles of treasurer and assistant treasurer.

Every year, all over the country, the respective county conventions (and most club AGMs) elect a treasurer and assistant treasurer.

Most often than not, those elected are great GAA people, there’s little doubt about that.

Usually it’s seen as a step up, for the incumbent, who might later become something else.

It’s an unwritten rule of the GAA that most posts are allocated with a certain degree or sense of entitlement, and maybe that was good enough in the past.

But not any more.

Nowadays the GAA is big business, and rarely has any county board someone qualified to look after the finances, without being stressed, or without moving money around to keep up with the rapidly developing financial infrastructure in that county.

This applies literally all over the country.

The GAA should scrap the roles of treasurer and assistant treasurer.

Instead, we should have a qualified financial controller, who knows what is necessary to keep books and compile strategy documents without tearing their hair out.

It’s too big a job anymore.

No chairperson, secretary, treasurer or assistant treasurer should be charged with looking after finances, or having control of the cheque book.

GAA County Board management committees are laden with great administrators. However, many don’t possess the expertise or qualifications required to meet the daunting task of looking after finances.

The financial controller, is by profession, subject to legally binding requirements, which immediately removes doubt from everyone.

The financial controller would be the person in charge of the county board finances, someone who is paid for the task and who would do it without being a full time employee.

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