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An apology has been sought by the Clare Schoolboys/Schoolgirls Soccer League over what was described as “very aggressive and inappropriate behaviour” at its virtual Annual General Meeting (AGM).

Matters came to a head at the AGM which was held last week as questions were asked of the CSSL’s finances. Members of the media were not invited to attend the meeting .

Secretary of the CSSL, Caroline O’Brien told The Clare Echo that it was an “oversight” that the media were not at the meeting and that no decision had been taken by the committee to exclude the press.

Ennis Town delegate Tony Downey speaking after outgoing Treasurer Nigel Bradish went through the CSSL’s accounts at the AGM expressed his belief that the books were not correct as he requested further information on the accounts from the previous year. He also queried detail on the terms of the loan for Lifford FC.

An EGM held last January revealed that doctored accounts were put before delegates at the CSSL’s AGM in 2019.

Numerous committee officials asked Downey to apologise for remarks and comments he passed while putting questions to the committee.

Speaking to The Clare Echo, Downey said the questions he asked were not well received and he stressed the importance of delegates raising matters. He said, “It is disappointing that no local Clare papers were invited in the interests of transparency”.

“We stand over our accounts, Nigel did a super job as Treasurer and so did Donal O’Sullivan” the league’s accountant, O’Brien told The Clare Echo.

In a letter issued to all clubs following the AGM, Caroline stated, “I would like to begin by apologising for the turn the meeting took. Very aggressive and inappropriate behaviour was demonstrated by the Ennis Town delegate. Some of you expressed your shock and dismay last night and we have since received calls from people who attended expressing their concerns at what transpired. Statements were made to discredit peoples professional and personal reputations”.

O’Brien confirmed that Ennis Town have been contacted with an apology requested for the CSSL Chairman Donal Kirby, ex Treasurer Nigel Braddish, the CSSL committee, Shannon Hibernians and all delegates that were logged onto the meeting. “We cannot condone the behaviour that happened,” the letter added.

Chairperson of Lifford AFC, Deirdre Allan in correspondence to the CSSL and Ennis Town stated, “I have never witnessed anything like the total disrespect and despicable behaviour of Mr Tony Downey”. She believed he had “his own agenda, to disrupt, insult, undermine and question the integrity of several people and clubs, not to mention the professional accountant who prepared and signed off on the accounts”.

Deirdre said she took exception to comments made by the Ennis Town delegate regarding Lifford FC. She expressed her fury with the damage caused and called for Downey to issue a profuse apology to the CSSL. Deirdre said Tony should refrain from further involvement in the league and confirmed no representative from Lifford FC would attend a CSSL meeting that Downey was present for.

“Anything that happened we will sort internally,” O’Brien told The Clare Echo when asked if Downey had been banned from future meetings.

CSSL Committee 2020/21:
Chairman: Donal Kirby (Lifford FC)
Vice Chairman/PRO: Chris Curran (Ennis Town FC)
Secretary: Caroline O’Brien (Shannon Town FC)
Fixtures Secretary/Registrar: Conor Twomey (Shannon Town Utd)
Treasurer: Deirdre Shannon (Hermitage FC)
SFAI Delegate: Tommy Molloy (Avenue Utd)
Committee Member: Brendan Wall (Shannon Hibs)

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