Paddy Mullen and Niall Erskine to contest Central Council post at Convention

Paddy Mullen and Niall Erskine to contest Central Council post at Convention

Paddy Mullen and Niall Erskine to contest Central Council post at Convention

TOM COMACK

Donegal Central Council representative Paddy Mullen, is to face a challenge from Killybegs' Niall Erskine for the post at next Monday night's county Convention.

Next to the anticipated contests between Grace Boyle and her executive colleague PRO Seamus O' Donnell for the position of treasurer, the election for the Central Council post between the outgoing St. Eunan's man and the the Killybegs clubman is one of the more interesting and eagerly awaited contests to be decided at Monday night's meeting.

Both are experienced officers with years of experience of holding high officer positions albeit Niall Erskine has gained all his experience away from these shores during his time in London. It is certainly one of the more interesting contests which is anticipated at Monday's annual general meeting.

Both have confirmed that they are interested in the position. Paddy Mullen wants to remain on in the position he took up only five months ago following the resignation of Noreen Doherty, who had replaced Brian McEniff at last December's Convention. Ms Doherty stepped down after taking up a full-time position with the board as County Administration Manager.

"I'm only five months in the job and finding my feet and I feel I have done a fair deal of work in my short time in the position. I would naturally love to remain on and continue to represent the county in Croke Park. I would also like to continue my work as chairman of the Stragetic Review Committee. We have got through a fair deal of work on the Review over the last few months and there still is a lot to do," Paddy Mullen told the Democrat.

Niall Erskine has also confirmed that he is interested in the position.

"I have received a nomination and I will be leaving my name in on Monday night. It is nothing personal against Paddy Mullen who I don't know that well, but he seems a sound fellow. But I feel when I am nominated I have an obligation to the club that nominated me to contest the position and it is a matter of letting the clubs decide," said Niall Erskine, who went on to say that if he was not successful on this occasion that he would not contest it again in the foreseeable future.

Paddy Mullen has four years experience as PRO and one year of Development Officer as well as the last five months as Donegal's man in Croke Park and also chairman of the county's Strategic Review Committee.

He has always being held in the highest of regard and has always been seen as a thoroughly professional and good county officer. He has done a lot of work in kickstarting the Strategic Review Plan since taking over the role of chairman - which is part of the brief of the central council representative - on his appointment last July.

Likewise Niall Erskine comes with a big reputation from his years as London GAA Board secretary and also the London Board's Central Council representative. He served two years as London secretary and one on the Central Council and was highly regarded in both the English capital and Croke Park. He held the Central Council position until he returned to his native Killybegs last year.

While it is generally accepted that competition is healthy and is good to see people of quality going for positions, the general consensus from speaking to people around the county is given the scarcity of good officer material it is a shame that two good men are contesting for the one position.

The Central Ccouncil position is one of the most sought-after positions on any county executive and is a very important role. Because as well as being a county's voice on the GAA's governing body, the representative is also his/her county's eyes and ears among the movers and shakers and close to the levers of power.

Previous holders of the position include Brian McEniff, Micheal Gillespie and Paddy McGill from Ardara. Brian McEniff held the position for 15 years, from 1993 to 2009, until he was forced to retire under a new five year rule which has been introduced in recent years. He was replaced by former county secretary Noreen Doherty who in turn was replaced by Paddy Mullen.

Paddy Mullen . . . who is hoping to hold on to his Central Council position with Niall Erskine of Killybegs confirming that he will be also contesting the position.