Donegal GAA chiefs have received a rap on the knuckles for applying a surcharge levy on the All-Ireland final tickets and have been requested by Croke Park to offer the county’s clubs a refund.
This follows an investigation by the Croke Park management committee into a claim that Donegal had added a €5 surcharge on all tickets for last September’s All-Ireland final meeting with Mayo.
Donegal officials contested this and always claimed that the charge was optional and was for a ticket for a fund-raising draw.
However, following an investigation carried out by Croke Park officials following complaints from a number of clubs in the county, it was found that the additional 5 euro was in fact a surcharge levy, something which is outlawed by the Association.
The Democrat has learned that Donegal’s principal officers, chairman P.J. McGowan and secretary Aodh Mairtin O’Fearraigh, were dragged over the coals on the issue at a meeting in Croke Park last week.
“Donegal officials were in Croke Park last weekend and they accepted that the manner in which they distributed the tickets was not in line with best practice as laid down by the Association,” Croke Park spokesperson Alan Milton told the Democrat last night.
“They have pledged not to allow the matter arise again and have also been instructed to write to the clubs in the county and to offer them a refund on the additional charge imposed at the time.”
The Democrat has also learned that the officials have been instructed to inform the clubs that they (the board) have accepted that the extra €5 was a surcharge levy.
The Donegal Executive were due to meet last night to discuss the matter as they prepare for next Sunday week’s annual County Convention.
The extra €5 was imposed on 12,000 tickets distributed to the clubs along with tickets for the county’s fund raising draws with each recipient of an All-Ireland Ireland ticket receiving a €5 ticket in the fund-rasing draw.
The matter was then handled by clubs in a number of different ways with some making the purchase of the €5 ticket compulsory while others made the €5 ticket optional. A small number of clubs took the hit themselves and included draw tickets in the price of the All-Ireland tickets.
And while a number of clubs were unhappy with the imposition of the additional €5, the majority had no great problem with it, though they were not happy with the manner in which it was imposed.
Meanwhile, Sunday week’s annual Convention promises to be a lively affair with a number of contenders for the top positions on the Executive for the next 12 months.
The entry of Sean Dunnion of Four Masters into the race for the chair last weekend means the vote for the top position is going to be a three horse race at least.
Dunnion, along with outgoing vice chairman Charlie Cannon, and Children’s Officer, Mick McGrath are the declared runners with 1992 All-Ireland winning captain Anthony Molloy yet to signal his intentions. Molloy was not available for comment yesterday on his intentions.
Liam Ward, Glenfin and Danny McNamee, Naomh Brid, a former treasurer and chairman, are both believed to be considering contesting for the vice-chair which is currently held by Charlie Cannon, who is believed to be only interested in the chairman’s position.
Outgoing Ulster Council representative, Edward Molloy, has declared an interest in the PRO position while his club colleague Mary Kelly, Ardara, has still to make her intentions known.
Maire Graham, the outgoing PRO, is understood to be interested in remaining on in the position though the Gaoth Dobhair woman has also been nominated for assistant secretary.
With Edward Molloy stepping down from Ulster Council after completing his five year term, Pat Conaghan (outgoing), Pat Walsh (Bundoran) and Brendan Kelly (Convoy), are the only declared candidates for the two positions on the provincial bodies. Danny McNamee, Liam Ward, Mary Kelly, Ed Byrne, Alan Boyd and Frankie Doherty have yet to declare their intentions.
Jim McGlynn and P.J. McGowan have ruled themselves out of the race with the outgoing chairman opting instead to contest for a place on the Central Council. Niall Erskine is the outgoing Central Council representative.