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Questions unanswered as Clare county board meeting cut short

AN online meeting of Clare County Board had to be adjourned on Tuesday night due to technical issues, but not before Chairman Jack Chaplin had said that hurling supporters club accounts for 2012 to 2016 are not the business of the board.
He also indicated that as the Kilmaley club had not followed up in writing on questions raised by its delegate Niall Romer at the April meeting about the position of Secretary Pat Fitzgerald, these would not be addressed.
Speaking to the Clare Champion this week, Chaplin reiterated that the GAA have advised that supporters clubs are not the business of county boards.
“What Croke Park has said is it’s outside our remit, what happened with those fundraisers. Going forward they are looking to regulate it, but they are historic ones and are outside of our remit.”
Asked if he was concerned that significant sums appear to have been raised on the back of Clare GAA, but there seems to be little knowledge of what happened with the money, he said, “As I say to you it’s outside our remit. Of course I would have concerns about money being raised, but when it’s outside the remit there’s nothing that I can do.”
Of the secretary’s position, he said, “I asked Kilmaley if they wanted to put a question to send it in on an email and it didn’t arrive. It is on the minutes that I asked them to write in.
I don’t know what the expectation was. Now, he (Niall Romer) did ask a lot of questions and maybe there was a misunderstanding, but on the one for Pat Fitz’s term in office, I asked him to get his club to write in, quite clearly. It’s on the minutes.”
County Board secretary Pat Fitzgerald told The Champion his term is due to expire in 2023.
He said he couldn’t comment on various questions put forward at a previous meeting as to do so would be a breach of his contract.
Also speaking on Wednesday, Romer, who raised a number of questions about the Secretary’s position at the April meeting, said he hadn’t been admitted to Tuesday’s virtual meeting, before it was adjourned.
“I’m upset the meeting began when some delegates hadn’t been admitted to the meeting. I feel it shouldn’t have started until all delegates were logged in.”
He disputed the view that a written communication was required for the questions he had raised at the April meeting to be dealt with.
“At the last meeting Jack Chaplin said that an email or letter would have to be sent back in. I said Jack, I’m here representing my club, will you please have it for the next meeting. He said he’d have information for the next meeting.”
Romer reiterated his view that the particulars of the county board secretary’s contract need to be made public.
“What is the problem with the contract, why can’t they just come out with it? Is there a contract there, if there is, let it come out and put it to bed.”
He also said that in his view it is essential details of the supporters club accounts come out, or it will continue to “cast a shadow”.
It had been hoped the meeting would reconvene on Thursday, but at the time of writing it is expected it will be later than that.

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.