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Treasurer who defrauded Co Antrim GAA club of £100k must say sorry, insists chairman

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Patrick Kane outside Antrim Courthouse

Patrick Kane outside Antrim Courthouse

Patrick Kane outside Antrim Courthouse

The chairman of a Co Antrim GAA club has called on its former treasurer to apologise after he defrauded the club of over £100,000 to fund his gambling addiction.

Patrick Kane was this week sentenced to 18 months, suspended for three years, for the fraud, which involved Ruairi Og GAA club in Cushendall.

The 47-year-old, from Ardmoyle Park, Cushendall, pleaded guilty to three charges of fraud by abuse of position, and one of false accounting.

Kane's offending came to light in late 2015 when he was confronted by a club member wanting to know the whereabouts of over £70,000.

He voluntarily repaid £113,500 to his club prior to police involvement.

The chairman of Ruairi Og, Dan Delargy, said that it will take a long time for the club to fully recover from Kane's actions.

"Most of our membership first learned what had transpired through the front page headlines of the newspapers just days after playing in the biggest game in the club's history, the 2016 All-Ireland Senior Club Hurling Final against Na Piarsaigh of Limerick in Croke Park," he said, in a victim impact statement shared with this newspaper.

"Paddy Kane was a highly respected, trusted treasurer and friend who had served on successive executive committees."

Mr Delargy told how Kane's fraud has had a "crushing impact" since it was exposed.

He added that despite an investigation by Deloitte into the breaches, no one can truly know the extent of Kane's theft, "possibly not even Paddy himself".

"Since these revelations it has been an uphill battle to regain the trust of the community," Mr Delargy added.

"As this has dragged on, it has been especially difficult to find individuals willing to serve in positions of authority within Ruairi Og.

"Paddy's actions amount to a gross breach of trust.

"No one was keeping watch and our misplaced faith has been exploited.

"The club and GAA in general will maintain stricter procedures in future. I hope that the personal relationships harmed are not beyond repair.

"I would also commend the resilience of the club and community in coming together to protect our games for the present and future generations. I look forward to a time that this can be put firmly behind us."

Ruairi Og did acknowledge the efforts of the Kane family to pay back some of the money that was stolen and how difficult it had been for Kane's loved ones.

"I know that for many within the parish, an apology from Paddy would be greatly welcomed," Mr Delargy added. "Paddy is as well placed as anyone to know the anguish and hurt he has caused by his actions.

"For now, we have weathered the storm, but a heavy cloud still hangs over us and it will take a long time for Ruairi Og CLG to fully recover."

Belfast Telegraph