Financial plan to rescue Kildare GAA unveiled

THE plan has been unveiled. The solution will come from advanced funding from Croke Park and Leinster Council, while fundraising will also play a massive part in getting the Kildare County Board back on an even keel, writes Ruth O’Brien.

THE plan has been unveiled. The solution will come from advanced funding from Croke Park and Leinster Council, while fundraising will also play a massive part in getting the Kildare County Board back on an even keel, writes Ruth O’Brien.

After months of negotiations the Kildare County Board will receive advanced funding of E300,000 from headquarters and it’s governing provincial council. It’s funding the board would have received in 2012 and 2013 anyway but now instead of having to pay back the debt by 2014, Kildare have until 2017 to sort out their mess.

A ‘resource’, a one Simon Moroney, a former Munster Council secretary, will be available to Kildare to help the board manage their affairs over the coming months.

Chairman John McMahon, pictured right, was quick to stress that the board are still in full control of their own affairs but one delegate, Suncroft chairman Dessie Brannock, described Mr Moroney as an AJ Chopra type figure!

“Croke Park have offered us a resource, a person who is named today as Simon Moroney. He is a former secretary of the Munster Council and a former Clare County Board secretary. He will make himself available through Croke Park to us to help us manage our affairs over the next month to three months. We have documented our budgets, we have gone through our proposals. Simon, while I personally don’t know him, he comes highly recommended and he will be a person we will use to our advantage in Kildare to ensure that we as a committee stick to the forecast, stick to the task and stick to the targets that we as a committee have set ourselves to get back to where we were.

“It is up to us on the County Board to prepare that set of tasks and to work with Simon and he will liaise with Pat Ryan, who is the head of finance in Croke Park but will be directed by us in his tasks and in his operation. It is very much a situation that Kildare are still and will still be in control of our financial activities. There is no dilution of our command of our own affairs. It is still very much our job and still very much our responsibility,” insisted County Board chairman John McMahon.

The deal agreed with Croke Park and Leinster Council, a deal that has not yet been totally finalised, allows Kildare to spread their fundraising plans over a five year period and ultimately get their debt, which now stands at E286,000, paid off within a three year period.

“ It just gives us that extra bit of leeway, an extra bit of wiggle room to raise our money,” explained Mr McMahon.

The grand master plan, as outlined at last Wednesday’s special County Board meeting, is a plan that must work unless the board want to revert back to plan B, which would mean even more drastic cuts in expenditure.

“This plan we have put in is a plan that has to work. It works on two fronts, one is to curtail our expenditure, manage our expenditure and control our budgets and two, that we as a county have to actively fundraise. It is something that the County Board hasn’t been doing a huge amount of in the last number of years regrettably but we now must address it in a very, very serious and worthwhile fashion,” added the chairman.

And what of Club Kildare, the supporters club who have fundraised tirelessly for the Kildare GAA cause?

Of course Club Kildare, for now, isn’t going anywhere and they will continue to fundraise but they will be watched much, much closer by their big brother from here on in.

“Our colleagues in Club Kildare have been vital, play a very important role and carry out very onerous work on raising finance from the County Board’s point of view. There has been great cooperation with Club Kildare over the last number of years and particularly over the last number of months. They themselves will be bringing in some changes to their own procedures, there will be a revision of the constitutions of fundraising committees throughout the country and Club Kildare themselves will be making some small changes to their own management. Their year end will coincide with our year end and their accounts will be submitted as part of our accounts for convention,” explained John McMahon.

He added: “There will also be additional people from the County Board appointed to the board of Club Kildare so each side knows exactly what the other side is doing. The fundraising will be coordinated between both ourselves and Club Kildare and their accounts will be, I think, audited at the end of the year by Maazers.”

Big Brother is indeed watching. However, the situation that Kildare find themselves in is not a pretty one. Let one stress that Kildare are not the only county in such financial disarray but nonetheless in needs to be rectified because, in the words of auditor Brendan Waters, ‘if the money is not coming in the tap will have to be turned off’.

“Sometimes you don’t always get what you want but I think the outcome that was finalised today is positive for Kildare. It is something that we all need to work at collectively to ensure that finances don’t continue to be a problem. The way we control that is by controlling our expenditure and controlling our fundraising,” insisted the Chairman.