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A RETIRED BUSINESSMAN has offered to take on the new role as Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Clare GAA on a voluntary basis.

Chairman of Clare GAA, Kieran Keating told the January meeting of the County Board that an “impressive candidate” offered to assume the position of COO without taking a salary. He described the individual as “very much an expert” and someone who commands respect in a commercial environment.

The Clare Echo understands that the individual has links to Crusheen National School with Keating and Vice Chairman Michael O’Connor the officers approached by the potential COO. Clare FM heralded the candidate as a “prominent businessman” based in the United States with international experience.

Keating confirmed that the role will still be advertised as initially intended, “we want to follow due process”. An interview panel is expected to be finalised this month, the Chairman outlined. “The candidate looks like a very interesting proposal for Clare GAA,” he added. Croke Park have yet to confirm if they will sanction the payment of €30,000 per annum for the role.

Strong candidates may not be put off applying to become COO, Whitegate’s David Solan feared. “If this guy is coming in taking no salary, where does it leave other candidates interested in the job that require a salary that has been promised, a backer has been got. It puts another candidate at a disadvantage straight away”. He continued, “The credentials must be extremely high but I hope the candidate and I hate to say it but that he is not coming in as one of the boys”.

Sponsored support for the position is still available, Keating clarified. “If we end up filling the position with someone not filling the salary then the money will be available for another position”. The Deerkpark resident informed the meeting, “the candidate wasn’t known to me but he comes recommended and appears highly qualified”. He stressed that the COO role cannot be given to someone just because they are willing to do it for free.

Clarecastle Chairman Niall Tuohy referenced the support of the financial backer and proposed that the COO role be advertised immediately. This was backed by Wolfe Tones’ Dermot O’Donnell, “When you’re getting into territory with a candidate willing to accept a position then you have a conflict of interest if there is another candidate going for it. The sooner you advertise the better”.

Justin Griffin, Chairman of Lissycasey questioned if the Croke Park funding was died to the COO role. “If I could answer for definite I would, I don’t know for sure. I don’t know for sure if Croke Park will give the €30k if the person in the role isn’t drawing a salary,” Keating admitted.

Central Council delegate, Simon Moroney detailed that the application was submitted to Croke Park on December 21st. “If there is no payment or salary, you will not get the €30,000 that is clear,” he stated. He advised the Committee to wait for written approval from Croke Park regarding the payment. “We should wait until the guaranteed approval is in place. I would prefer to have a guarantee of money,” he added. At this point, Tuohy withdrew his proposal to advertise the position.

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