Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

GAA official was 'depressed'

Friends and associates of GAA official Denis Hanrahan were concerned about his state of mind in the days before his death.

A former secretary of the East county board in Waterford, Mr Hanrahan (70), of Brown St, Portlaw, was found dead at lunchtime Wednesday in a field at Stokestown, near New Ross in Co Wexford.



Mr Hanrahan's death followed news that up to €143,000 obtained from hurling championship ticket sales had been misappropriated.



A source, who did not wish to be named, said: "Denis had a history of depression and people locally were very concerned about him when they heard that he was said to be involved in the scandal.



"He has gone missing in the past and people were concerned on Tuesday for his safety," said the source.



Mr Hanrahan's son Cathal, a chef who lives in Kilkenny, was back in Portlaw making arrangements for his father's funeral. Fr Ned Hassett is providing the family with support.



"We're dealing with a deep personal tragedy," Fr Hassett said. "Here in the parish we're continuing to offer support to the family of Denis Hanrahan.''



Gardai are not treating Mr Hanrahan's death as suspicious and are "not looking for anybody else in connection with his death".



The money related to the proceeds of tickets sold by the eastern divisional board for Waterford's inter-county games in the 2007 All-Ireland series.



The games included a Munster semi-final against Cork; a Munster Final against Limerick; two All-Ireland quarter-finals against Cork and a semi-final against Limerick.



The tickets for the five games were issued by the GAA 's Munster Council and Central Council to Waterford County Board, who passed them on to the two divisional boards. These were in turn distributed to the county's 50 clubs.



It is understood that between €450,000 and €460,000 was submitted in relation to the sales of the tickets with a shortfall of an estimated €143,000.



Waterford GAA county board delegates learned of the missing money at a meeting of the board in Dungarvan on Monday night.



Some senior officials had known about the missing cash since late 2007 but "an opportunity was given to him [Mr Hanrahan] to hand back the money because of his depression," said a local source yesterday.



Gardai in Waterford have in recent months been investigating the matter and it is understood that Mr Hanrahan was due to be questioned within days. A legal writ had been served on the deceased when the cash was not reimbursed.



Rumours that Mr Hanrahan was involved in an "online pyramid scam" have been circulating throughout Portlaw in recent days.



Mr Hanrahan, who was also a member of the Executive Committee of the county board in Waterford, resigned from his position earlier this month after an internal GAA probe was launched.



The deceased had been a widower for some years following the death of his wife, Eileen, from cancer, according to a local source. His brother, Sam, passed away last month.



Mr Hanrahan, who was chair of the local credit union, had been a member of staff at Irish Leathers in the town, until it went out of business some years ago.



Results of a post mortem examination at Waterford Regional Hospital have not been released.



Eastern county board fixtures had been cancelled this week, but all county senior hurling championship games will go ahead tomorrow and Sunday as scheduled.

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