We spent more than we took in, says John McMahon

IT has taken a long, long time in coming but now after a few tortuous years the big question has finally been asked, writes Tommy Callaghan.

IT has taken a long, long time in coming but now after a few tortuous years the big question has finally been asked, writes Tommy Callaghan.

The ‘elephant in the room’ was recognised when Allenwood delegate, Seán Malone, asked at last Tuesday’s night’s county board meeting “how did we get into the situation that we now find ourselves in”?

And the wily ‘Blues’ man was not referring to Kildare’s continuous lack of silverware at minor, U21 or most importantly of all, senior level.

No the veteran Allenwood delegate ever present at the board’s monthly ‘gatherings’ was commenting on the state of the Kildare GAA finances which have just received an injection of some E500,000 in the form of a loan from Croke Park and the Leinster Council which enables it to balance the books, pay off all creditors, debts, expenses etc., prior to the start of 2013.

It was a simple straight forward question from Mr. Malone and came right at the end of the November gathering of the grassroots of Kildare Co. Board, prior to December’s Annual Convention which will this year be held at The Hawkfield Centre of Excellence on Saturday 1 December.

As delegates were about to vacate the ‘Birds’ Nest’ up popped Seán with the question that had been avoided time and time gain for months and even years.

“How did we get into this situation”?

The chairman, John McMahon, did not waste any time in his reply.

“We spent more than we took in.”

Short, sharp to the point and a reply that could have come straight out of the mouth of the Minister for Finance who is a past master at answering a question but telling you absolutely nothing.

It seems Chairman John has been attending the same school as the Minister, as he (the chairman) did not expand on his reply, nor, in fairness, was he asked to, on a problem that raised its ugly head long before Mr. McMahon came to the top table. However he did add that “we can’t live in the past but we can learn from it.”

Worthy words indeed but still not shedding any light, or blame, on how Kildare find’s itself in the red to the tune of half a million and while the slate will be clear come the start of 2013 the consequences of extremely poor financial management over a long number of years will be felt for many a day to come.

However, it seems that club delegates are happy enough to move on; clear the debt over time and hopefully never encounter a problem of this magnitude again.

There was another but related problem bothering St. Kevin’s man, Joe Fox.

“There is a body of opinion out there at present that suggests all Kildare’s problem have been solved; that the monies Kildare have received has us back on the straight and narrow and every thing will be fine going forward” said Joe.

“I would just like to tell everyone here and now to get the word out that this is no free money and while the cash injection Kildare has received from Croke Park and the Leinster Council is both needed and welcome, it has to be repaid, every cent of it so it is very important that we continue to fund raise, continue to support Club Kildare and continue to work with the Co. Board on any future initiatives.”

John McMahon admitted that it has been a tough year and he hoped that “no one ever finds themselves in the situation we now find ourselves in at present.”

And so we came to the end of ‘The Gatherings’ for 2012 for the grassroots delegates at least.

Who will return come 2013 we will have to wait and see but most of these boys (and girls) are hardy souls and have no doubt the vast majority will be back come the New Year.

Who will be facing them at the top table is the next item on the agenda.

Will there be a mere moving of the ‘deck chairs’ at executive level or a seismic change of personnel?

I would be going for the ‘deck chair’ scenario myself but sure we’ll have to wait and see how things unfold.