Chairman defends draw against critics
'We need the money'
The Wexford G.A.A Model County Draw has once again proved an outstanding success despite the reservations of a handful of club delegates.
Over the past five years of the draw, clubs have benefited to the amount of some €1m while the draw has also helped to offset some €900,000 of the county's debt.
However, the HWH-Bunclody delegate, Noel Ryan, expressed his club's dissatisfaction with the change in the structure of the draw which he felt had not been outlined in detail to the clubs. He said his club was down some €1,570 on this year's draw despite selling a similar amount of tickets as last year.
County Chairman, Diarmuid Devereux, told delegates that he did not have the final figures for the draw but it was put before the clubs on the basis of past draws. He said the draw was once again a success, while accepting there was some tweaking, which he told delegates was done to pay off the County Board debt while also being a major fundraiser for the clubs.
The Chairman also informed delegates that each October the County Treasurer, Andrew Nolan, has to have some €180,000 to pay the bank debt which they had with an interest rate of 2%, but should they miss out on payment this interest rate would increase.
'We need to bring in some €180,000 to meet the debt for the Ferns Centre of Excellence. This can only be done through selling more tickets, charging more, but I tweaked the draw somewhat with extra monies being contributed by clubs who sold a set amount of tickets, which now involved some seven clubs.
'The County Board as a result got an extra €25,000, while the clubs were allocated back an extra ten tickets, which gave them an additional €500.
'Half the money taken in for the draw goes in prizes, with the clubs receiving some €30 of the €50 collected. That is the position but if the clubs want to have a discussion they can have this over the next two to three meetings,' he said.
'I don't mind what you do. I did not create the debt on Glenbrien and Ferns, I did not create the High Court debt. This Model County Draw under Joe Sheehan has three people running it and they have done an excellent job. I wish to compliment them on their work.
'I have no more than three meetings left in my term as County Chairman. There are many at this top table who will complete their term this year and may not be back, but I want to leave the finances and Wexford G.A.A. in the best possible position for the man or woman who takes over.
'Can anyone in this room give me any other business that for every €50 collected, the club gets back €30? That is a 70% nett profit and this whole discussion now comes down to an additional €2 which has just seven clubs involved. I spoke with several clubs on this over the telephone,' he added.
'There is no point in the club having the extra money should the County Board not have the money to pay the bank.
'At the moment we are in the strongest financial position since the work was started on Wexford Park.
'We need the money and the incoming Chairman will need money for capital projects.'
However, Bannow-Ballymitty club delegate Michael Wallace felt the Model County Draw committee was motivated by greed.
'There was also no advertising of the draw this year. Had there been advertising we would have been able sell more tickets,' he added.
'I find that comment offensive. To say that about a volunteer committee is offensive,' the Chairman replied.
Draw Chairman, Joe Sheehan, expressed his disgust at such a comment.
'I want you to withdraw such a comment, that we (committee) sat down and were motivated by greed.
'If Michael (Wallace) wants to get personal, your club over the last few years have not sold the amount of tickets you say. I want you to put that on the record.
'Every club got a letter, along with the tickets and brochures, outlining the details of the draw. If that letter was not passed on it's not the committee that is at fault,' he added.
Oulart-The Ballagh delegate, Ger Doyle, felt that if the Chairman spoke with individual clubs it would have been better if all clubs had been communicated with.
However, James Flood (St. Mary's, Maudlintown) told delegates: 'If I build an extension on my house I cannot expect the G.A.A. to pay for it. The Ferns debt is there and has to be paid for'.
The County Chairman told delegates: 'I cannot print money. I re-iterate that I did not create the debt, did not go to the High Court, and I'm sure Joe Sheehan did not come with me. Whoever takes over the chair from me I want to leave the G.A.A. in the county in a position so that person can hit the ground running.
'The draw committee will be finished within the next few weeks. I once again thank them for their huge volume of work over the past five years.'
The majority of delegates showed their appreciation with a prolonged round of applause.
The Chairman said the draw committee would meet with the seven clubs involved to discuss the matter further.