"If people continue to turn a blind eye, it will be devastating for the Association"

May 13, 2017

GAA Director General Paraic Duffy at the launch of his 2017 Annual Report ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

The illegal practice of under the counter payments to managers is a 'major threat' to the GAA, warns Paraic Duffy.

The controversial topic is one of many touched on by the association's director general in a wide-ranging interview in today's Irish Independent and he points the finger of blame in the direction of those club and county officials that 'turn a blind eye' to the amateur ethos.

"This is not just an issue at inter-county level," he states. "In fact, it's a lot worse with clubs, where there is a whole plethora of mercenaries who go around counties from one club to the next. We know what's going on, but try and get evidence and you hit a brick wall."

The Monaghan native continues: "Every time an illegal payment is paid, a hole is bored in the amateur status. That is extremely damaging.

"It's not good for an organisation to proclaim itself amateur and then breach the rule. If the Association believes that because of the amount of work involved, managers should be paid, then let it be discussed but openly and honestly, rather than say 'no' to payments and then go and make them anyway.

"You can't be hypocritical and remain credible. If people continue to turn a blind eye, it will be devastating for the Association.

"We will only survive as an amateur organisation if people genuinely buy into that ethos. You won't find anyone in the GAA who disagrees publicly with that, yet illegal payments are being made.

"Those who facilitate that should take a long hard look at themselves because they are damaging the very Association they claim to love."

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