ST KEVIN’S delegate John Noone has accused the Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) of leaking confidential documents to media regarding the Seanie Johnston transfer case.
The former club chairman has also accused individuals in Croke Park of ‘bending and twisting’ rules in order to block Johnston’s transfer from Cavan Gaels to the Staplestown based club.
Speaking at last Tuesday night’s monthly county board meeting in Newbridge, Mr Noone explained that an article by Martin Brehany, printed in the Irish Independent on March 31st was alarmingly accurate and he is of the opinions that the minutes of a meeting held by the CCCC on March 8th were given to the long serving journalist.
“I know everything that’s going on with this case because I’ve been involved in accompanying Seanie Johnston to the CCCC meetings. An awful lot of people here would only be getting their information from the press but the vast majority of that is totally inaccurate and is rubbish but Martin Brehany’s article in last Saturday’s (Irish) Independent was so accurate it defied logic and it raises very serious issues,” said Mr Noone.
“I was under the assumption that what went on at these meetings was confidential and to read verbatim what went on raises very, very serious questions,” added the St Kevin’s man.
Noone also claimed that the CCCC, through certain members of the national media, are attempting to influence public opinion on the proposed Johnston move.
“A lot of other stuff has been referred to, what I call propaganda from the CCCC, regarding the ethos of the GAA. I don’t know where it is coming from because it was never ever raised at any of the meetings with Seanie Johnston but it’s obviously something that they’re throwing out there,” claimed Noone.
He added: “They (the media) also threw in a bit about a registered letter being sent to his address in Straffan and being returned as ‘name unknown here’. This did not happen. It never happened because we checked it out and in a situation like that if a registered letter arrives and there’s nobody there there’s a note left at the door. These guys are putting that out there as if it was fact.”
Johnston’s request for a transfer was rejected by the CCCC because the members of the committee were not satisfied that his address in Straffan was permanent. However, Noone insists otherwise and claimed that members of the CCCC are ‘telling lies’ and twisting the truth to stop the transfer being granted.
“As far as I’m concerned the powers that be are making up the rules as they go along and are twisting the rules to suit themselves. For example, they said that they used the criteria that a financial institution would be of use if someone wants to open a bank account. Then they said that utility bills weren’t accepted but the dogs in the street know that the first thing the bank will ask you for is a utility bill but this guy (in Croke Park) sat up there and told blatant lies as far as I’m concerned.
“The second part of it is, on a couple of occasions when I went to ask questions I was told that wasn’t my role and told I was only there as a witness. I have since searched the rule book up and down and I can’t find any thing that backs that up. I’ve taken advice on the rule and I was told there is no rule there and again this is an instance of these guys, in my opinion, bending and twisting the rules to suit themselves,” insisted Noone.
The St Kevin’s delegate says he is confused as to why Croke Park have such an issue in granting Johnston a transfer, when, in his opinion, similar inter county transfers have gone throughout without a glitch in the past.
“They asked question about him travelling to and from Cavan every day but the man has toll receipts to prove that he’s doing it. There’s no questions being asked of a well know ex Mayo player who is travelling every day from Newry and there was no questions asked when a prominent player from Carlow transferred to Wicklow and then went back. We can go back even further and talk about high profile Kildare players years ago when no questions were asked so why is it now that when a player wants to come to Kildare that questions are being asked,” said Noone.
The final straw, it appears, for Noone was the leaking of the CCCC minutes to the (national) press and he appealed to the county board chairman John McMahon to raise the issue in Croke Park to ensure a similar situation doesn’t occur again.
In response John McMahon, who, along with secretary Kathleen O’Neill, were in attendance at the March 8th meeting, insisted that the leak did not come from anyone involved in the Kildare County Board.
“That meeting was reported with great accuracy in a certain paper. All I can categorically say from Kildare’s point of view there was absolutely no contact made with us, no requests made to Kildare County Board for comment or no permission asked to use or comment on the minutes of that meeting. Where ever the documentation came from it certainly did not come from the officers or anyone involved with the Kildare County Board,” insisted Mr McMahon.
The chairman was quick to point out that the transfer case was not a issue for the county board but did insinuate that there seems to be a vendetta mentality against Kildare at present.
“It’s an individual matter as far as we’re concerned and Seanie Johnston is the same as any other player who wants to transfer from one county to another. Like it our lump it though, we (Kildare) are treated as being a high profile county and people will look for any reason to knock us down sometimes,” said the Naas club man.
When contacted by the Leinster Leader this week Croke Park refused to comment on Mr Noone’s claims but stated that the minutes of the particular CCCC meeting were circulated to all county boards in the country, along with Ard Comhairle members, on March 28, three days before the article appeared in the Irish Independent.