GARDAI are investigating allegations that a six figure sum of money has been misappropriated from a County Limerick GAA club.
Gardai have confirmed they received a formal complaint from an official at Athea GAA club in the last fortnight.
Supt Dan Flavin of Newcastle West garda station said the investigation into the allegations is at an early stage and that it “would not be appropriate to comment any further”.
It is understood the allegations relate to monies which “went missing” over the past number of years.
The monies were raised through the weekly club draw and the amount of cash at the centre of the allegations could be as high as €100,000.
A spokesperson for the club declined to comment on the matter when contacted this week.
The Limerick Leader has learned that club officials previously discovered financial irregularities, and that an individual who was identified then began paying back the money in instalments.
One source has suggested that as much as €26,000 may have been returned to the club in this manner.
However a formal complaint was made to the gardai on the weekend of November 24, last after the officials became concerned about the conduct of the person at the centre of the incident.
It is thought that members of the committee then decided to bring the suspected fraud to the attention of gardai.
It is believed club members were informed about the matter and the garda investigation at a special general meeting which was held last Saturday evening at the clubhouse.
Audited accounts from the club have been handed over to investigating gardai to assist them with their investigations.
The allegations, if proven, mirror a similar but unrelated incident in 2009 in which a former treasurer of Blackrock GAA club in South Limerick was jailed for a year for stealing almost €100,000 from the club’s weekly lotto.
Patricia Carroll, of Chapel Street, Kilfinane pleaded guilty to 19 offences amounting to the theft of €98,316 from the club between October 2005 and March 2007.
Almost €60,000 of the stolen money was subsequently repaid to the club following the court-ordered sale of the Carroll family’s terraced home in Kilfinane.
Athea GAA club, which was formed in 1905, has won numerous junior and intermediate titles over the past century.
However, the club, which includes teams from under-10 upwards, won its only County Senior Football championship in 1963. Grassroots members of the club are said to be shocked at this week’s news which has attracted national attention.