GAA president Cooney feels heat of critics
GAA president Christy Cooney is now encountering what could prove a major impediment as he seeks to clamp down on under-the-counter payments that are being made to county and club team bosses.
Cooney, who plans to call a meeting shortly of county chairmen, secretaries, treasurers and Central Council delegates to discuss ways of combating what he has described as “a cancer within our games”, is coming under fire from several quarters for what is being alluded to as “sheer hypocrisy”.
A director of FÁS, the Republic’s Training and Employment Agency, Cooney is reputedly on an annual salary of €150,000 and he is reimbursed to this extent by the GAA for the three-year term during which he holds the office of president.
Several former players in particular including Donegal sharpshooter Brendan Devenney and ex-Kilkenny All Ireland winning hurling captain Eddie O’Connor have now hit out strongly at what they refer to as double standards, suggesting that Cooney’s ongoing salary arrangement is in sharp contrast to any sums which county managers in particular might receive.
Devenney is particularly scathing on the attitude of the GAA authorities on the payment of “expenses”.
“The word ‘expenses' can hide a multitude of sins and there are a million and one ways to give money to a manager and hardly any of them can be policed effectively,” the St. Eunan's, Letterkenny clubman claims.
“If the money does not come from a county board it will be gift-wrapped from a supporters' club or a business in the county or even further afield.
“If you want to attract the very best people or candidates who have to travel a fair distance, then the expenses will go up. The notion of each manager claiming the same rate is laughable.
“For people in the top level of officialdom to complain about it is highly hypocritical given that they're on what we can only imagine are handsome salaries.”