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Top GAA official quits as gardai probe €140,000 in missing cash

Gardai have launched a criminal investigation into the disappearance of over €140,000 from GAA coffers.

A GAA official in Co Waterford has resigned his post as a result of internal inquiries into the missing cash.

The money was part of the proceeds of the sale of all-Ireland hurling championship tickets last year.

Senior officials made efforts to recover the cash after they discovered that it had not been lodged in a special bank account, used by Waterford's east and west boards, for the proceeds.

After the attempts failed, an official complaint alleging that the money had been misappropriated was made to the gardai in Waterford city on Monday.

Most of the county board had been kept in the dark about the incident while the internal inquiries were ongoing.

On Sunday night each member of the board was contacted by telephone and asked to attend an emergency meeting in Dungarvan on Monday night. But they were not told what was on the agenda and many of them thought a crisis involving their county hurling team or its management had arisen.

Delegates were shocked when they were given a brief outline of the allegations at the meeting and told that the issue was now being handled by the county board's solicitors. No questions were allowed at the meeting because of the legal implications.

It is understood that between €450,000 and €460,000 in ticket takings had been lodged in the bank account, leaving a shortfall of an estimated €142,000.

The takings included ticket sales for Waterford's two Munster hurling championship ties with Cork and Limerick as well as a national quarter-final clash with Cork and a semi-final contest with Limerick.

When the internal inquiries were under way, the official accused of mishandling the money opted to resign.

Solicitors later served a writ on the man.

Last night the man said it was "no one's business" where the money was at present.

Contacted at his home, he said that "it has nothing to do with you. It's no one's business where the money is and it's no one's business what I got or didn't get".

Gardai said last night that their investigation was still at an early stage and they had arranged to meet senior officials to establish full details of the complaint.

It is expected that the former official at the centre of the allegations will be interviewed by detectives at a later stage and if officers believe it is warranted, a file will then be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.

One official said last night that the board did not want to comment at this stage because of the garda investigation but said it had been decided to hold an emergency meeting on Monday as the clubs had a right to learn about the financial difficulties before the details became known publicly.

It is expected that GAA headquarters at Croke Park will hold its own inquiry.


From Belfast Telegraph