Limerick GAA chairman urges transparency of highest level in corporate governance

Jerome O'Connell

Reporter:

Jerome O'Connell

Email:

joconnell@limerickleader.ie

Limerick GAA chairman urges all to continue the hard work to ensure we can get to a better place

Limerick GAA chairman John Cregan

LIMERICK GAA chairman John Cregan has stressed his County Board will apply "transparency at the highest possible level of regulation" when it comes to "corporate governance".

In his 14-minute address to Annual Convention this Monday night the Dromcollogher-Broadford told delegates that Limerick County Board would continue to "implement best practice" in terms of their financial dealings.

"Corporate governance in sporting organisations is a pretty hot topic in recent times and it behoves us as a board to always apply the required transparency at the highest possible level of regulation," stressed Cregan at the end of his second year as chairman.

"Off the field we continued to invest in and improve our facilities, our treasurer Liam Bourke and his team have once again returned a healthy surplus and since taking up his position and working with the audit committee, he has tackled and indeed greatly reduced our legacy debt. I am confident that the remaining legacy debt will be cleared in 2020," said the chairman.

"We have continued to implement best practice in our corporate governance and more will be done in that regard in 2020 and beyond. I referred earlier in my address that we must continue to improve corporate governance and to this end I very much welcome the fact that the board recently decided to invite our auditors to further examine how we operate our business from a financial governance point of view and any recommendations that emerge from this will be implemented," said Cregan. 

"While today we find ourselves in a reasonably good place, there is a very fine line between where we are and not being in a good place. So we have to continue the hard work across all areas of our activity to ensure we can get to a better place. While we the board officers are the ones in the front line and on occasion in the firing line much of the good work being done across our organisation is done with the help and support of many others who work quietly behind the scenes, some of these are volunteers who give of their time and energy selflessly, and on behalf of the board, I want to say thank you all for your efforts."

"Annual convention presents an opportunity both to look back on our activities of the past year as well as an opportunity to look forward to the year ahead. 2019 was another successful year for Limerick GAA both on and off the field. On the field we captured Allianz National Hurling League honours, Munster senior and Minor hurling honours, a Munster U16 hurling title and two U15 national football titles, congratulations and well done to all involved with these teams," outlined the chairman.

Cregan pin-pointed a number of areas that need attention in 2020.

"I believe we can and must improve our support for our primary schools. By this I mean we have to give more meaningful support to our clubs to ensure that our clubs can give better support to our schools particularly in the area of coaching. Our school link programme is currently being reviewed and while the old format worked well in some instances we need to ensure that all schools get the support they require and deserve. We have situations where schools have little or no club support and that will have to change," said Cregan.

"With a couple of exceptions our committee structures in many instances are just not working. In my opinion each area of activity needs a properly functioning committee that meets regularly, has meaningful discussion and debate and bring forward recommendations to management by way of a regular report. These committees require outside expertise because we don’t always have the expertise we require on the inside. All volunteers who serve should only be expected to give a certain amount of their time to  their particular role and rather than being lone figures they should have the support of an active committee behind them to assist them with their duties, he said.

"In 2020 we need to closely examine our divisional board structures. As a strong supporter of divisional boards I believe we have to change the emphasis from running competitions only to a better mix of competitions and development of our games. Divisional boards can in my view play a much more meaningful role in our clubs, in our primary schools and in our second level colleges. Our divisional boards would require officers directly responsible for the areas mentioned and where additional resources are required for specific projects in the divisions, then we has a board would not be found wanting in this regard. It is my considered view that consideration should now be given by management to have a professional independent report prepared in early 2020."

He also spoke of structural changes.

"Work will commence shortly in Mick Neville park which will further enhance this fine facility the new development will greatly add to the requirements necessary for the training of our County teams and will also add to spectator comfort which in this day and age is a necessity. Despite what some think we will have a Centre of Excellence in Rathkeale that we can all be proud of - a Centre of Excellence that will be envied by many counties."