Legitimacy of fines questioned


THE IMPOSITION of fines of £5,000 on the Meath and Mayo county boards following the All-Ireland final replay at Croke Park last September is not in accordance with the rules of the GAA and would not stand up in a civil court if a challenge were made, according to Tom Woulfe of the Civil Service club. He claims that neither Meath nor Mayo can be forced to pay the fines.

As a result he has tabled rule-changing motions for the next meeting of the Dublin county board in the hope that the annual congress will regularise and legitimise the situation.

Woulfe contends that a rule passed at the annual congress of the GAA in Cork in 1985 removed many powers from the Central Council and did not confer them on any other body within the GAA, notably the Games Administration Committee.

"There are no rules to cover this situation and the GAA at large has ignored warnings that they are acting outside their own rules and, therefore, outside the rule of law.

"The Central Council had very wide discretion on matters of this kind but the 1985 special congress divested them of that discretion and did not confer it on any other body.

"There are no rules in the GAA rule book to allow the Games Administration Committee to impose fines on clubs or county boards as things stand at the moment.

"What I am trying to do now is to give the GAC powers to do this. I am suggesting that they can impose fines on clubs and counties and that there should be limits on these fines and that these limits be decided and written into the rules so that the GAC cannot act outside the rules of the association.

"I have personal knowledge of two clubs which were fined under these non-existent rules in Dublin who wrote back to the relevant authorities which had sought to impose the penalties.

"They asked under what rule the fines were imposed and two years later they have not had a reply and the fines have never been paid," he says.