Woman gets €7,600 over GAA draw dispute

 

A CO MEATH woman has been awarded a GAA club lottery prize on the direction of a judge.

Vera Ennis, of Rathbeggan, Dunshaughlin, Co Meath, told the Circuit Civil Court yesterday that although she chose the four winning numbers in Ratoath GAA Club’s weekly lottery, she did not receive the €7,600 top prize.

Ms Ennis, who sued ticket seller Michael “Skipper” Lynch, Ratoath GAA Club and the GAA, said she had been told by the then club chairman and local primary school principal Hugh Daly that, following an inquiry, her ticket stub was not found in the draw.

Barrister Noel Cosgrove said Ms Ennis bought three tickets in the Ratoath Inn on May 16th, 2004, one of which was signed “Christo, Vera and gang” – her husband, herself and their children.

She had chosen her numbers and had later seen them posted on a pub noticeboard as the winning numbers in the Ratoath GAA weekly lotto draw. When she made inquiries, she had been told there had been no ticket with her numbers entered in the draw.

Ms Ennis said she had retained the winning ticket stub with the serial number 3350, and had called with her husband to Mr Daly’s house. He had made inquiries and telephoned to say her ticket was not in the draw.

She had told him “this is not the end of it”, and Mr Daly had said not to come to his house harassing him or his family. He had said that if she wanted she could sue Mr Lynch, and she had replied: “If I sue anyone I will sue the GAA, and you can sue Mr Lynch.”

Pat Walsh, Ratoath, said he was in the pub and saw Ms Ennis pay Mr Lynch for tickets.

Hugh Daly denied having told Ms Ennis to sue Mr Lynch. The last thing the club wanted was any issue or controversy. A search had been carried out for her ticket but it had not been found in the draw drum. For all he knew her ticket could have ended up in a rubbish bin in the Ratoath Inn.

Mr Lynch told the court he had no particular memory to whom he had sold tickets on May 16th, 2004.

Circuit Court president Mr Justice Matthew Deery, awarding Ms Ennis €7,600 severally and jointly against Mr Lynch, the club and the GAA, said there was an element of looseness in the club’s records of sales for the draw.

There had been “a fault line” in accountability, which was understandable in that there was an element of trust involved in what was a charitable and social objective operated on a voluntary basis.